CEC declines to accept two new ECP members

ISLAMBABAD     -    Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Mohammad Raza has declined to administer oath to two members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) who were recently appointed by President Arif Alvi.

Sources revealed to The Nation that both the newly-appointed members visited the ECP office Friday morning to assume their charge but the CEC refused to administer oath saying that their appointment was against the constitution.

The government on Thursday had announced the appointment of Khalid Mehmood Siddiqui and Munir Ahmed Kakar from Sindh and Balochistan respectively.

The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs had notified their appointment. Sources said that the CEC was likely to inform the ministry of parliamentary affairs regarding his decision.

As per the Constitution, the seats for the two provinces had to be filled within 45 days after their falling vacant, but this deadline was missed as the prime minister and the leader of opposition in the National Assembly failed to reach a consensus.

The president then used his discretion to make the new appointments while ignoring the laid down constitutional procedure, inviting protest

from the opposition which termed it a clear violation of the constitution.

“The manner of appointment of the two Members of ECP from Sindh and Balochistan by the President is in violation of Articles 213 and 218 of the constitution,” said PPP’s Senator Mian Raza Rabbani.

He lamented that it was unfortunate that this attack on the parliament and the constitution had come from within the institution, as under Article 50, the president is a part of the Parliament. He said the president has intentionally violated the 18th constitutional Amendment by making these appointments on his discretion.

Rabbani said that Para (b) of clause (2) of Article 218, provided that members of the ECP are to be appointed under the procedure laid down in clause (2A) and (2B) of Article 213.

He explained that Clause (2A) and (2B) of Article 213 provided that the prime minister and the opposition leader collectively or, in the case of dispute, separately shall send three names each to the parliamentary committee for hearing and confirmation of one name, that shall be appointed by the president.

The PPP senator added that the entire process of the appointment of the members has been marred by the constitutional violations. He said that no consultation took place between the prime minister and the president, which is necessary for the appointment of ECP members after the 18th Amendment.

Talking to The Nation PPP leader Farhatullah Baber said that the ‘selected’ prime minister seemed hell bent upon bulldozing his way as if there was no constitution in the country.

Earlier, the government was also sharply criticized when the nominations for these vacant ECP seats were sent by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi through an officer of his ministry, which were later withdrawn by PM Imran who then proposed new names.

The names proposed by the PM in his letter to the opposition leader for Balochistan ECP member were senior lawyer Munir Kakar, former session and district judge Amanullah Baloch, and former caretaker provincial minister Mir Naveed Jan Baloch.

The nominations of the government for ECP member for Sindh were lawyer Khalid Mahmood, former Inspector General of Sindh Police Iqbal Mehmood, and former Sindh High Court judge Justice Farukh Zia Sheikh.

The opposition in reply proposed the names of former judge Abdul Rasool Memon, and former Sindh High Court Bar association president Khalid Javed for Sindh. It also retained the earlier proposed name of Noorul Haq Qureshi for Sindh ECP member slot.

The opposition changed one name in the list proposed by the government for ECP members from Balochistan.

Sources in the ECP revealed to The Nation that a clash is also expected between the government and opposition next year on the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner.




The writer is member of staff and can be reached at @8mansoor_ali

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