Prime Minister Imran Khan has written a letter to Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif for filling the vacant posts of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) members in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, suggesting three names each for the provinces.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry tweeted a copy of the letter, pointing out that the premier had written it to the PML-N president under Articles 213 and 218 of the Constitution.
The ECP, he added, would be able to make the appointments after the opposition's response to the names proposed by PM Imran.
For the vacant post of the ECP member from Punjab, the premier has suggested the names of Ahsan Mahboob, an ex-officer of the Police Service of Pakistan; Raja Amer Khan, an advocate of the Supreme Court; and Dr Syed Pervaiz Abbas, a retired officer of the Pakistan Administrative Service.
For the ECP member from K-P, the prime minister has proposed the names of Justice (retd) Ikramullah Khan; Faridullah Khan, a former of the Pakistan Administrative Service; and Muzammil Khan, an advocate of the Supreme Court.
Article 213 (2A) states “The Prime Minister shall in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, forward three names for appointment of the Commissioner to a Parliamentary Committee for hearing and confirmation of any one person.
Provided that in case there is no consensus between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, each shall forward separate lists to the Parliamentary Committee for consideration which may confirm any one name”.
Article 218 reads: “Four members, one from each Province, each of whom shall be a person who has been a judge of a High Court or has been a senior civil servant or is a technocrat and is not more than sixty-five years of age, to be appointed by the President in the manner provided for appointment of the Commissioner in clauses (2A) and (2B) or Article 213.”
Last month, ECP members from K-P and Punjab, Irshad Qaiser and Altaf Ibrahim Qureshi, respectively, retired after completing their five-year term.
Under the constitution, the government has to appoint new members within 45 days while according to law, the ECP can remain functional with three members.
In order to fill vacancies of two retired members, the ECP had written two letters to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs in which it had informed the federal government about the outgoing members.
The premier had tasked senior federal ministers to suggest suitable names for the purpose.
Also last month, the federal information minister had dispelled the impression that there was a deadlock between the government and opposition on the question of the appointment of the provincial members of the ECP.
“According to the Constitution, the Prime Minister [Imran Khan] will seek the opinion of the Leader of the Opposition [Shehbaz Sharif] on this issue. Imran Khan’s struggle is for establishing a transparent system,” he tweeted.
The minister said the government also wanted to move forward with an open heart on electoral reforms and amending the laws that govern the top graft buster, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). “We want consensus in the parliament on major issues.”
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