ISLAMABAD - With total confusion in coalition government’s ranks how to break the deadlock with Opposition on the appointment of a consensus Chief Election Commissioner, the 12-member Parliamentary Committee on appointment of CEC would meet here on July 9th.
When contacted the sources in the PML-N informed that they would prefer to stick with the ongoing process but if the government wanted to restart the process they would not mind and would enter into consultation with the new Chief Executive of the country. Currently the Committee was facing a deadlock like situation as both the ruling alliance as well as the main Opposition party PML-N is not in a mood to concede ground and are sticking to the lists of their proposed candidates.
PML-N in consultation with the Opposition parties both which are part of the Parliament and which are not, proposed the names of Acting CEC Justice Shakirullah Jan, Justice (Retd) Fakharuddin G. Ebrahim and Justice (Retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid for the post while the fresh up list of the candidates by the ruling alliance included the names of Justice (Retd) Munir A. Sheikh, Justice (Retd) Amirul Mulk Mengal and Justice (Retd) Naseem Sikandar.
The name of Justice (Retd) Naseem Sikandar was inducted in the list after withdrawing the candidature of Justice (Retd) Zahid Qurban Alvi whose name was included in the first list presented by the then Prime Minister to the Committee. But later it was said that as Justice (Retd) Zahid Qurban Alvi had refused to be part of the list so on the request of former PM Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani substituted him with Justice (Retd) Naseem Sikandar. When the process for appointment of CEC was initiated by the then Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, Nisar refused to join consultation process for the purpose with a convicted person.
Later, Gilani had sent the list of three candidates to 12-member Parliamentary Committee to keep the process rolling. Following him Leader of Opposition also dispatched the list of three candidates as well after consultation with all the Opposition parties even those, which are not part of the Parliament.
The Committee was again in a state of deadlock like situation as it could not recommend the name of any of the candidates presented by Leader of the Opposition and Prime Minister with two-thirds strength of the Committee, which could not be attained without the support of the PML-N, which has five members in the Committee.
Now, if the government wanted to evolve consensus on anyone of the existing candidates then it has to pick one of the candidates proposed by Leader of Opposition, as Opposition PML-N has outrightly rejected all the names by the government side, even the one brought in as substitute.
In another development MQM has supported the candidature of one of the candidates Justice (Retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid, proposed by PML-N and but again MQM was just having one vote in the Committee and for installing Justice (Retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid they would be requiring the support of another couple of votes from the ruling alliance.
The government could opt for initiation of the whole exercise afresh on the plea that the process initiated by the former Prime Minister Gilani lost its value after his disqualification.
In this way the PPP and its allies could engage into consultation with PML-N to evolve consensus on some new candidate or they could pick from the existing lists a candidate, which would be acceptable to all the stakeholders.