Govt, Opp reach consensus on Sikandar Raja’s appointment as CEC | Pakistan Today

Govt, Opp reach consensus on Sikandar Raja’s appointment as CEC

–Mehmood Jatoi and Nisar Durrani likely to be selected as members of ECP from Balochistan and Sindh, respectively

ISLAMABAD: The government and opposition on Monday reached consensus on the appointment of Sikandar Sultan Raja as the chief election commissioner (CEC) after Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif agreed on his name from the three names proposed by Prime Minister Imran Khan a few days ago.

Raja Sultan Sikandar will replace Sardar Raza Khan, who retired as the CEC after completing his term on December 6, 2019. He recently retired as a 22-grade officer after holding the post of chief secretary of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). He also served as a secretary in various federal ministries and was once the director of the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

Reportedly, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) had also endorsed the name of the former bureaucrat as the CEC while Raja Pervez Ashraf of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had proposed the name of the former Attorney General Irfan Qadir but his name did not get the approval of Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs.

Meanwhile, the government and opposition have also agreed on the names of Mehmood Jatoi and Nisar Durrani as members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from Balochistan and Sindh, respectively.

On January 15, the premier had written a letter to the opposition leader to draw his attention to his previous letter written on December 4, for consultation on appointment of the CEC as required under clause (2-A) of Article 213 of the constitution. “In order to have meaningful and result-oriented consultations and as another attempt to resolve this longstanding issue, I hereby propose the revised panel, comprising of following, for the appointment of the chief election commissioner of Pakistan,” the letter had stated.

The nominees included former federal secretaries Jamil Ahmed, Fazal Abbas Mekan and Sikandar Sultan Raja.

Meanwhile, a source in the PML-N had informed Pakistan Today that the party might choose Raja for the post after taking the leaders of allied opposition parties into confidence.

On January 17, the Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs had discussed at length the deadlock over the nomination of new CEC owing to the difference of opinion in this regard.

Chaired by Senator Pervaiz Rashid, the meeting was also attended by Senator Sikandar Mandhro, Senator Brigadier (r) John Kenneth Williams, Senator Walid Iqbal, Senator Hilalur Rehman and senior officers from the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and the ECP along with all concerned.

The meeting had also discussed the display of voters’ lists and procedures for correction in voters’ lists; promulgation of the ordinance; violations and impact.

The committee was of the view that parliament could not be overlooked in this matter and the best way to address this issue was through a mechanism set by parliament.

The committee had expressed grave concerns over women being disenfranchised from their right to vote in parts of the country. The members had deplored the fact that almost 13 million women voters have not been registered.

The committee had recommended that the ECP in collaboration with NADRA should revise its lists. It was stressed that the ECP and NADRA must reach out to women, especially in rural areas to bridge this gap keeping in view the record available with NADRA regarding family registration certificate.

While discussing the case study on promulgation of ordinance by the president of Pakistan in terms of Article 89, the committee was of the view that narrowing the ambit of Ordinance Promulgation through the constitutional amendments must be resorted to.

It was asserted that as per the ruling of the Senate chief, it must be mandatory for all ordinances to be laid in parliament on the first day of Senate session.

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