Imran finally writes letter to Shehbaz for ECP posts

PM rejects opposition leader’s allegation that govt violating Constitution


Our Correspondents April 02, 2019
PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has finally written a letter to Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif for the appointment of two members of the Election Commission of Pakistan from Sindh and Balochistan.

In the letter sent to Shehbaz on Tuesday, Khan asked the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president to participate in the consultative process by suggesting names for the ECP positions in writing.

He warned that in case Shehbaz did not participate in the process, there will be no other option but to presume that he was “evading the legal process”.

Khan wrote that he preferred “written consultation”, suggesting that he does not wish to meet directly with the opposition leader.

He quoted court decisions of the past and a verse from the Holy Quran in favour of his argument.

The prime minister also defended his decision of forwarding nominations first through the foreign minister and then through his secretary.

He rejected Shehbaz’s allegation that the government was acting in violation of the Constitution in the consultation process.

He observed that the foreign minister and his secretary had written the letters on his behalf and this did not violate the Constitution.

“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 initiated,” he noted.

The prime minister maintained that the letter written on March 26 was meant to start the consultation process and build a consensus, noting, “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.”

Khan further accused Shehbaz of taking no steps to start the process of consultation.

The prime minister had proposed the names of Amanullah Baloch, Munir Kakar and Naveed Jan Baloch from Balochistan and Khalid Mehmood Siddiqui, Farrukh Zia and Shaikh Iqbal Mehmood from Sindh for the two ECP positions.

Shehbaz, in his letter to the prime minister, had accused the federal government of violating the Constitution in more than one ways, as it had missed the deadline for the appointment of the ECP members.

‘Results unlikely’

PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah confirmed that party president Shehbaz had received the prime minister’s letter.

However, he added that it was unlikely that the consultation would produce any results without the opposition leader’s direct meeting with the prime minister.

Speaking at the parliament lodges, Sanaullah said the prime minister in his new letter had recommended the same names that were suggested in the earlier correspondence.

PML-N meeting

After the prime minister’s letter, the PML-N has called a meeting of its central leadership at the parliament house on Wednesday to discuss names for the ECP positions.

The party leaders who will attend the meeting include former National Assembly speaker Ayaz Sadiq, Ahsan Iqbal, Rana Sanaullah and Marriyum Aurangzeb.

The PML-N is later expected to contact the Pakistan People’s Party and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl for their recommendations and submit three names each for the two ECP positions.

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