PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday discussed the appointment of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) members and “agreed to move ahead together on the matter in consultation with each other”.
During a telephonic conversation, the two leaders also reviewed the overall political situation in the country.
The PML-N, on its official Twitter handle, wrote that Bilawal and Shehbaz exchanged views on the issue and agreed to proceed on it together with consultations.
The PPP media cell also issued a statement on the social media platform, saying that its chairman and the PML-N president discussed the overall political scenario in the country.
In July this year, 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.
Last month, Prime Minister Imran Khan had written a letter to Shehbaz, who is also the opposition leader in the National Assembly, for filling the vacant posts of the ECP, suggesting three names each for the provinces.
For the ECP member from K-P, the prime minister had 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.
For the vacant post from Punjab, the premier had 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.
Under the law, the premier and opposition leader are supposed to hold consultations on the matter. If they fail to reach a consensus, the matter is sent to a parliamentary committee.
Bilawal’s tilt towards Shehbaz instead of PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz comes amid a rift in the PML-N top leadership. In a talk with journalists in Karachi, Shehbaz had stated that the solution to the national issues demanded a consensus national government.
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A day later, the PML-N issued a clarification, saying Shehbaz spoke in his personal capacity regarding his idea of national government.
Maryam ruled out reconciliation with the ruling PTI in the wake of Shehbaz’s controversial statement.
Shehbaz then appointed a spokesperson for himself – the move sparking a debate in the party that the opposition leader had expressed his annoyance in this way.
“Shehbaz Sharif had indeed proposed the formation of a ‘national government’ in Karachi,” newly appointed PML-N president’s spokesperson Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan told The Express Tribune.
He added that it was not the first time that he had given such a proposal.
His account of what Shehbaz had actually said in Karachi was somewhat different with the clarification issued by party spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, who had twice refuted the news articles carrying the PML-N president’s media interaction, wherein he had suggested forming a national government.
Malik, who was accompanying Shehbaz during the Karachi visit, said the PML-N president while answering a question of a journalist had said that for resolving the issues of the Pakistan, there was no harm in forming a national government.
He said Shehbaz had talked about leaving aside the division to work for the betterment and prosperity of the country.
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