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Pakistan

Web Desk
January 13, 2020

Senate bill suggests Supreme Court appoint chief election commissioner

Pakistan

Web Desk
Mon, Jan 13, 2020
The News/Files 

ISLAMABAD: A private member bill was moved on Monday in the Senate suggesting changes in the appointment procedure of the Chief Election Commissioner and members of Election Commission of Pakistan, proposing that they be appointed by the Supreme Court.

The bill introduced by  Senator Lt Gen (retd) Abdul Qayyum sought to amend the Constitution's Articles 213 and 215, which lay down the requirements for the appointment of the chief and members of the ECP.

Under existing laws, the appointments of the CEC and ECP members is carried out after consensus between the government and opposition.

The introduction of the private member bill follows a month-long deadlock between the government and opposition over appointments to the key positions.

The position of CEC has been vacant after former ECP chief Sardar Mohammad Raza retired on December 5, 2019.

Criticising the bill, Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs said that the matter of the appointments of the CEC and ECP members must be resolved in the parliament. The minister, however, also acknowledged that the government and opposition had hit a dead-end over the key appointments.

The Senate chairman referred the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (Amendment of Articles 213 and 215) to the concerned standing committee.

Earlier, contacts were made between the government and opposition to break the deadlock. Former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, who represents the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), told The News that the government has indicated that it will give a new name for chief election commissioner (CEC).

Last week a source had said  that, “Neither side is willing to accept the other’s proposals, and hence the deadlock continues, which may be broken with the new recommendations.”

The source further said that the government is insistent on choosing Babar Yaqoob Fateh as the CEC while the opposition is equally adamant not to agree to his choice.