ISLAMABAD: The government and the opposition have reached close to an understanding under which candidate for the post of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) is most likely to be picked from the three names proposed by the government, while members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from Sindh and Balochistan are in all probability to be taken from the opposition’s lists.
A source privy to the development told Dawn that behind-the-scene talks between the government and the opposition continued. He expressed the hope that the three vacancies in the ECP will be filled on Thursday.
A meeting of the parliamentary panel on appointment of CEC and two ECP members was postponed again on Wednesday.
The meeting was first scheduled for Monday, but it was postponed till 2pm on Wednesday then its time was changed to 4pm and again it was put off till Thursday.
While CEC may be chosen from govt-proposed names, members from Sindh and Balochistan may be opposition’s nominees
Talking to reporters on Wednesday, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Mushahidullah Khan said it had been decided in the last meeting of the parliamentary panel that the decision on appointment of CEC and two ECP members will be taken the same day.
He said the government wanted to finalise names of two ECP members first, but the opposition rejected the idea and insisted that all the three appointments should be made in one go.
The ECP became non-functional after the retirement of CEC Sardar Mohammad Raza Khan on Dec 5.
ECP members from Sindh and Balochistan — Abdul Ghaffar Soomro and retired Justice Shakeel Baloch — had retired on January 26.
Under Articles 213 and 218 of the Constitution, the prime minister, in consultation with the opposition leader, forwards three names for the post of CEC to a parliamentary committee constituted by the National Assembly speaker for confirmation of one name.
In case a consensus is not reached between the prime minister and the opposition leader, the law says that each will forward separate names to the parliamentary committee for finalisation of one name.
The law is, however, silent on the way forward in case of a stalemate at the bipartisan parliamentary committee having equal representation of the lawmakers from the government and the opposition.