LAHORE - The PML-N is mulling four names for the appointment of the new chief election commissioner (CEC) after it rejected the list of three which Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had earlier sent to Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan for consideration.
The PML-N sources say the party is considering former judges of the Supreme Court - Justice (r) Sardar Raza Khan, Justice (r) Nasir Aslam Zahid, Justice (r) Shafiur Rehman and Justice (r) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim - for forwarding the names of three of them to the parliamentary committee assigned the task to appoint the CEC.
According to the sources, informal deliberations were held by the top leaders of the party on Tuesday, but they did not finalise the names. They will reach to a conclusion at a formal meeting and forward the list to the committee after receiving the input of all the senior members.
They further say the PML-N, while picking up names for the probable CEC, wants to take special care that no impression of partiality, bias or partisan could emerge about them.
After receipt of three names each from the treasury and the opposition, the parliamentary panel has to make a decision within 14 days. The 12-member committee comprises members in equal number from both sides in the National Assembly and the Senate.
It may be recalled that the PML-N had demanded the chairmanship of the committee; however, it was turned down.
The opposition faced a serious shock Tuesday when a JUI-F member from its ranks voted for the candidate of the opposite camp to appoint PPP’s Syed Khursheed Shah as the chairman.
The new CEC will be appointed with a two-thirds majority of the committee members, which, in the present case, is eight of the 12 members. The PML-N is knows the fact that even if the PPP again clinched support of the JUI-F at the time of the CEC election, it will not be able to have the man of its liking since the PML-N strength of five will make it impossible to get the requisite support.
It may be mentioned that the PML-N had received names of Justice (r) Munir A Sheikh, Justice (r) Amirul Mulk Mengal and Justice (r) Zahid Qurban Alvi from the prime minister for appointment as the CEC. But it turned down all of them primarily on the ground that the party did not recognise Gilani as prime minister after the guilty verdict against him by the Supreme Court and also raising objections to the names.
The office of the CEC got vacant after retirement of Justice (r) Hamid Ali Mirza on March 23. Under the 18th Amendment, the tenure of the CEC has been increased to five years (previously it was a three-year term), whereas the procedure for his appointment has also been changed.