ISLAMABAD: Two candidates have emerged as the main contenders for the post of chief election commissioner (CEC) in the wake of consultations carried out by both the government and opposition with a host of political outfits.
The final decision, however, rests with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, sources told The Express Tribune.
According to sources privy to the development, almost all opposition parties and the government’s allies have agreed on the names of Justice (retd) Tassaduq Hussain Jilani and Justice (retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid.
They have also asked Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah and Information Minister Senator Pervaiz Rashid to choose one of them. However, sources said Shah and the PM will meet again in the coming days and will take a final decision.
They said the opposition and the parties allied with government have also agreed on some of points linked with tenure of the CEC, expiry term of current four members of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the expected electoral reforms.
The Jamaat-e-Islami, Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had proposed the names of Nasir Aslam Zahid while the government, its allies and other opposition parties had agreed to see Jillani as the new CEC.
The sources said both government and opposition parties have agreed to form a committee to approach the office-bearers of bar associations to convince them and remove their reservations on Jillani’s appointment as the CEC.
Sources said a few political parties have also expressed reservations on Zahid’s nomination and said he was PML-N candidate for the position of caretaker prime minister in 2013 and might have a soft corner for the party.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Pervaiz Rashid confirmed that a few names were selected, adding that the PM would take the final decision upon his return from China.
Electoral reforms committee
According to sources, the parliamentary electoral reforms committee will not bring any amendment in the CEC and the ECP members’ term and tenure, which is five years under Article 215 of the Constitution. The current four members will not be removed as their term will expire in April 2015.
Bhagwan Das refuses offer
Sources said the PPP’s had tried much to develop consensus on name of Justice (retd) Rana Bhagwan Das and had sent Senator Raza Rabbani to convince him for the post of the CEC but he refused.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Information Minister Pervez Rashid said it was due to the PTI’s Chairman Imran Khan’s illogic criticism that Justice Bhagwan Das had refused to be named for the post of the CEC. “If Imran Khan does not stop his useless criticism on the ECP, then no one will be accept the post of the CEC,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 9th, 2014.