ISLAMABAD: The 12-member parliamentary committee on the appointment of chief election commissioner and members of the Election Commission of Pakistan elected Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid as its chairman on Friday.
The committee is required to deliberate the names of members of the Election Commission of Pakistan that the prime minister will forward to it after consulting the opposition leader.
The Election Commission has become non-functional with the retirement of its four members on June 13 after completing their non-extendable five-year term in office.
The PM after consulting Opposition Leader Khurshid Shah will propose a total of 12 names — three each against one vacant slot — to the parliamentary committee that will deliberate and finalise the names to fill out four positions of the ECP members.
The Constitution provides that the government should finalise names with the consent of the opposition. The parliamentary committee has equal representation from the government and the opposition. The rules provide that these slots will be filled within 45 days of vacancy.
The 22nd Constitutional Amendment provides that, besides serving and retired judges of superior courts, bureaucrats, technocrats and government officers are also eligible to be appointed as the chief election commissioner and members of the ECP.
The agenda of the first meeting of the parliamentary committee was limited to selecting its chairman.
PML-N MNA Muhammad Junaid Anwaar Chaudhry proposed Rashid’s name for the chairmanship. The proposal was seconded by PPPP’s MNA Nawab Yousuf Talpur. Other members of the committee are: senators Mir Kabeer Ahmed, Islamuddin Sheikh, Muhammad Daud Khan Achakzai and MNAs Zahid Hamid, Arshad Khan Leghari, Dr Darshan, Shazia Marri, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Dr Farooq Sattar.
Talking to the media outside the Parliament House, PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the opposition was not satisfied with the performance of the recently retired members of the Election Commission, saying there was a need to constitute an independent and impartial election body.
“Questions over transparency of the 2013 general elections and credibility of the members of the ECP have been raised by the nation and several political parties, which tainted the overall integrity of the election body,” Qureshi said, adding there was a need to restore the image of the ECP by appointing neutral and independent election commissioners.
Qureshi was of the view that the Election Commission should be evolved on the pattern of the Indian Election Commission that has no consideration for any individual or a political party.
Meanwhile, Committee Chairman Pervaiz Rashid, while talking to the media, said electoral reforms aimed at making the Election Commission independent had been initiated, adding every effort will be made to appoint EC members through consensus.
He said the parliamentary committee would strive hard to constitute an Election Commission that is independent and impartial, and in which people have confidence and trust.
Rashid said that the PM and the opposition leader had already deliberated over the matter and their recommendations would be sent to the committee soon for finalisation of the names of ECP members.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2016.