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Pakistan

Web Desk
December 12, 2019

Pervez Khattak again tasked to contact opposition leaders

Pakistan

Web Desk
Thu, Dec 12, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan once again deputed Defence Minister Pervez Khattak to rope in the opposition and the allied parties over issues relating the extension of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s office term and appointment of the chief election commissioner (CEC).

The decision was taken at a meeting with PM Khan in the chair. The meeting was called to discuss extension to army chief’s tenure and the CEC’s appointment.

The premier issued directives to contact the opposition parties concerning the two matters.

PM Khan told the government officials to quickly start the legislation process for extension to the army chief’s office term and complete it within the timeframe specified by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, according to the sources. Tasking Khattak to meet leaders of the opposition parties, the premier directed him to pave the way for the legislation in consultation with them.

As regards the CEC’s appointment, PM Khan also issued directives for taking up quick decision and said no stone will be left unturned to make the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) an independent and autonomous body.

The SC, last month, took notice of a petition filed against the government's move to extend General Bajwa's tenure as army chief for another three years.

After a few hearings and amendments to the army chief's extension summary, the court allowed General Bajwa a six-month conditional extension. The apex court ordered the PTI government to bring necessary legislation within six months to decide the army chief's tenure and other details related to his post.

Meantime, Sardar Raza Muhammed Khan retired as the CEC on December 6. Now, senior Punjab member Justice (retired) Altaf Ibrahim is performing as acting CEC.

It is constitutionally binding on the government to appoint the CEC within 45 days however there is deadlock between the government and opposition over the issue of appointment of the CEC and two members. The opposition has also moved the apex court for the CEC’s appointment.

It may be mentioned here that three names each have been proposed by the government and the opposition for the positions of CEC and two ECP members from Sindh and Balochistan.

Khattak had said Sunday no talks had been held so far with the opposition parties on the constitutional amendments for the army chief’s extension in service. He said the government was waiting for the detailed judgment of the court on the case.