Imran seeks written suggestions from Shehbaz on ECP appointments


–PM writes letter to NA Opp leader, rejects allegations of intentional delay in appointing ECP members from Balochistan and Sindh


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has finally written a letter to Opposition Leader of National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif on the appointment of two members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), seeking his suggestions in writing.

In a four-page letter, the prime minister rejected all objections and allegations hurled by the president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) that the government is violating the constitution by delaying the finalisation of the names of ECP members from Balochistan and Sindh.

Imran quoted a number of examples from the earlier court decisions and even a Quranic verse from Surah Baqrah in support of his argument that the consultation over the ongoing matter could be and should be done in writing.

“Written consultation is surely preferred,” the PM stated in the letter. “I again stress your good self to participate in the consultative process by giving your views in writing. In case you do not participate in the consultative process, the people of Pakistan and myself shall have no other option but to presume that you are evading the legal process, in which event further rights shall be reserved,” he wrote, without further elaboration.

Earlier, the PML-N president, in his letter to PM Khan, had opposed the premier’s way of consultation over the appointment of ECP members through nominees and accused his government of violating the constitution by impeding the filling of two vacancies.

Sharif had also highlighted the apparent reluctance of the prime minister to hold a direct consultation with him as a major factor behind the delay.

The prime minister has suggested the names of Amanullah Baloch, ex-district and sessions judge, Quetta; Munir Kakar, a lawyer; and Mir Naveed Jan Baloch, a businessman and a former caretaker minister in the provincial government, for their nomination as a member of the ECP from Balochistan.

The prime minister has proposed the names of Khalid Mehmood Siddiqui, a lawyer, retired Justice Farrukh Zia Sheikh, a former judge of the Sindh High Court (SHC), and Iqbal Mehmood, retired inspector-general Sindh, for their nomination as a member of the ECP from Sindh.

Imran has claimed in the letter that “there is nothing in Article 213(2-A) of the Constitution to suggest as to from which of the two persons specified in the said sub-article, the consultation process has to be imitated”, stating that “you took no steps to initiate any process of consultations”.

Referring to Shehbaz Sharif’s reservation about change in nominations, the prime minister clarified that “the ethos of any consultative process necessarily implies that the consultee could alter the names of the candidates during consultation”.

“There is no embargo on a consultee to substitute the names forwarded by him previously with fresh names that he may subsequently consider to be more appropriate,” he writes.

“The entire idea of sending you the letter and the present one is to enter into an effective, meaningful, purposive and consensus-oriented process of consultation, leaving no room of complaint of arbitrariness or unfair play,” continues the PM in his letter.