Parliamentary body to decide on ECP members as govt, opp fail to reach consensus

  • Committee will discuss 24 names to shortlist four members for ECP

After failing to reach a consensus on the appointment of four members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the federal government and opposition on Thursday decided to forward three names each from each of the provinces to the parliamentary committee for consideration and a final decision.

Per reports, the parliamentary committee will meet on July 25 (Monday) at 10:30 am and consider the names it receives for appointment as ECP members, as provided in the 22nd amendment of the constitution. The meeting is crucial since the Supreme Court has already given a deadline of July 27 for finalising names of ECP members.

According to a source privy to the details of the meeting held between Opposition Leader in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar at the Parliament House on Thursday, the parliamentary committee – which draws six members from the treasury and the other six from the opposition with Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid as its chairman – will have to discuss 24 names to shortlist four members for the ECP.

The source however said that since two minor opposition parties, Awami National Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement, had defended the prime minister on various occasions, the support of only one member from opposition ranks might turn the tables on the opposition.

Meanwhile, Khursheed Shah, while addressing a joint news conference after his meeting with Dar, said that four members of the ECP retired on June 10 and under the constitution, new members must be appointed by July 25. He said these members could be retired judges, technocrats, bureaucrats or from media.

Shah said that as the previous members of ECP had become controversial, they tried to bring neutral and competent persons having no political background. He said each side would give three names from each province and the parliamentary committee would finally decide on the names.

In reply to a question as to whether Imran Khan would not object to the new members, Shah said he had held discussions with the PTI, MQM and Aftab Sherpao on the appointment of new ECP members.

Speaking to the media, Ishaq Dar said they held about ten meetings before and after Eid, but as the two sides could not agree on three names from each province, it had been decided that each side would give three names from each province to the committee for consideration and decision. He said there had been agreements on one or two names, but as they could not agree on three names from a province, it was thus necessary to forward the names to the committee.

The minister said that the leader of house in National Assembly and the leader of opposition in National Assembly would send their list of 12 names each to the speaker for consideration by the parliamentary committee.