Islamabad: A parliamentary committee, constituted to reach consensus on the appointment of two members of Pakistan’s Election Commission, on Tuesday failed to make headway leading to fears the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) might be rendered dysfunctional if the deadlock persists.
The Constitution of Pakistan requires of the government and opposition parties to agree on the names of the chief election commissioner, and other members, within 45 days of the posts falling vacant.
Presently, the ECP is working with only three members — chairman Retd Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan and two members Retd Justice Altaf Ebrahim Qureshi (Punjab) and Irshad Qaiser (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa).
Raza Khan is completing his five-year term and retiring on December 7, 2019.
According to the Election Commission Act, it is mandatory for the ECP to work with at least three members.
After the chief election commissioner’s retirement the commission will comprise of only two members.
However, Tuesday’s meeting ended without any breakthrough on the issue of vacant seats from Sindh and Balochistan.
The committee will however meet again at the Parliament House on Wednesday to resume deliberations.
National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar and Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani had forwarded six names, three each from Prime Minister Imran Khan and Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif to the parliamentary forum.
On Tuesday the parliamentary committee meeting chaired by Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari saw no breakthrough as the government and the opposition members stuck to their names.
The 12-member parliamentary panel comprises eight members from the National Assembly and four from the Senate. The government and opposition are equally represented in the committee, with six members from each side.
Under parliamentary rules, the panel has to make a decision with a two-thirds majority, which means that in order to approve any individual for the post the nominee’s name should be supported by at least eight members.
For the vacant seat from Sindh and Balochistan, the opposition has recommended the names of Shah Muhammad Jatoi, Muhammad Rauf Atta and Rahila Durrani for Balochistan and the names of Nisar Durrani, Justice (retd) Abdul Rasul Memon and Aurangzeb Haq for Sindh.
The government nominees are: Dr Faiz Kakar, Naveed Jan and Amanullah Baloch for Balochistan and the names of retired judges Sadiq Bhatti, Noorul Haq Qureshi, Abdul Jabbar Qureshi for Sindh.
Meanwhile, there was no deliberation over the name of the Chief Election Commissioner in Tuesday meeting and the main focus of parleys between the government and the opposition was on the appointment of two members against vacant seats.