- Parliamentary Committee finalises names of Justice (r) Shakeel Ahmed Baloch as ECP member from Balochistan, former federal secretary Abdul Ghaffar Soomro from Sindh, Justice (r) Irshad Qaiser from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Justice (r) Altaf Ibrahmi Qureshi from Punjab
A parliamentary committee in a meeting on Monday finalised four names as members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
The committee nominated four members of the ECP, one from each federating unit. The committee formed to appoint the chief election commissioner and ECP members nominated Justice (r) Shakeel Ahmed Baloch as the ECP member from Balochistan, former federal secretary Abdul Ghaffar Soomro from Sindh, Justice (r) Irshad Qaiser from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Justice (r) Altaf Ibrahmi Qureshi from Punjab, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid told reporters after the meeting.
The five-year tenure of the four members of the ECP expired on June 12 this year, leaving the ECP virtually non-functional.
The federal government and the opposition had sent 12 names each on Friday after failing to reach consensus. The names nominated by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Opposition Leader Syed Khursheed Shah were sent to the chairman of the parliamentary committee for selecting four names (one from each province).
The Supreme Court had earlier asked the government to honour its constitutional mandate by appointing personnel to the vacant posts within a stipulated period of 45 days, which ends on July 27.
The bench had taken suo motu notice of the ECP becoming non-functional since the commission was unable to perform duties assigned to it under the constitution and the electoral laws because of completion of the term of four of its members.
As consensus could not be evolved on names, two separate lists from the government and opposition were sent to the committee. The committee in a meeting at the Parliament House on Monday decided four names of the ECP members from the two lists.
Awami National Party Senator Daud Khan Achakzai abstained from voting on the appointments, claiming his party was not consulted, while Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MNA Shireen Mazari abstained from voting on the ECP posts for Punjab and KP.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan said his party had proposed the name of Tariq Khosa from Punjab but it was not considered by the committee.
The parliamentary committee that nominated the members includes Law Minister Zahid Hamid, Senator Mir Kabir Ahmed Shahi, Senator Islamuddin Shaikh, Senator Daud Khan Achakzai, MNA Muhammad Junaid Anwar Chaudhry, MNA Muhammad Arshad Khan Leghari, MNA Dr Darshan, Nawab Yousaf Talpur, Ghulam Mustafa Shah, MNA Shireen Mazari and MNA Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui.
A summary will be forwarded to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today (Tuesday). The final notification decision rests with President Mamnoon Hussain.
Talking to reporters at his chambers, Pervaiz Rashid said that the committee discussed all the recommended names. The names of all the new members were included in the lists of both the government and the opposition.
Responding to a tweet of PTI Chairman Imran Khan, he said Khan should read the constitution as the committee followed the constitutional provisions in finalizing the names of new members.
“Imran Khan is unaware about constitutional requirements as his party’s nominee is ineligible for the EC member`s slot due to overage,” he added. He said two of the four new members would retire after two-and-a-half years while the two would complete five-year term to ensure continuity like the Senate.
To a question, he said if the ‘experiences’ of PTI Chairman Imran Khan were followed, the ECP members’ names would not have been finalized and if finalized then ECP would have been dissolved like the PTI election commission. He said the process for the appointment of the new ECP members was done as per the Constitution and overwhelming majority of the committee members voted in favour of the nominated members, with only two abstentions.
He said the AJK people had rejected the PTI due to Imran Khan’s negative politics.
To another question about Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) elections, he said the PML-N did not spend even a single penny to purchase votes while Rs 6.5 million deposited by the candidates were lying in the party account.