ECP members may have term reduced to 2 years

Law ministry considers proposal as retired judges enjoy questionable perks.

Muhammad Bilal October 06, 2011


The Ministry of Law and Justice is taking into serious consideration a proposal to limit the tenure of members of the Election Commission of Pakistan to two years only, official sources told The Express Tribune.

Currently, the tenure for all members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is a total of five years. The ambiguity surrounding privileges granted to members, however, has led to this tenure being challenged. The main concern is that for the first time, retired judges of high courts, as opposed to sitting judges, have been made ECP members.

The problem seems to have arisen with the passing of the 18th amendment. Prior to its passage, a sitting judge of each high court was also tasked with performing duty as a member of the ECP. In light of the amendment however, the government is able to, and has, appointed retired judges.

“Earlier everything was settled … sitting judges of high courts were also members of the commission, so they were enjoying the perks and privileges of a serving judge. This time, retired judges have been made members so there are questions as to whether they should be offered privileges equal to a sitting judge or not,” a senior official said.

Constitution offers little insight

He added that the problem was exacerbated because the constitution was also silent on this issue. The only specified detail says that the Chief Election Commissioner shall hold office for five years.

The law ministry has now decided to bring the matter before the cabinet in order to ascertain which perks can be considered legitimate for ECP members. Sources within the ECP, on the other hand, believe that the tenure of the commission’s members should be at par with the Chief Election Commissioner.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2011. 


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