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August 25, 2019

Govt sticks to its guns on appointment of ECP members

Top Story

August 25, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The government on Saturday again defended the appointment of two members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from Sindh and Balochistan, insisting the step was as per the law and the Constitution and the president acted as an impartial umpire on this count.

Minister for parliamentary Affairs Senator Azam Swati issued a video clip on the matter and emphasised that the appointment had been made in accordance with the law and the Constitution and the ministry had adopted a fair and just procedure.

He said it was unprecedented that Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (R) Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan had written a letter to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, declining to administer oath to Khalid Mehmood Siddiqui and Munir Ahmad Kakar, who were notified on August 22 as members of the Election Commission.

Swati explained that the president had acted as an impartial umpire in the wake of a deadlock on the finalisation of two names for the posts of Election Commission Members (ECMs). He added there was deadlock between the prime minister and leader of opposition and then the matter was referred to the parliamentary committee, which also failed to evolve consensus despite having met for several times.

Upon this, one option for the ministry was to do nothing, but it acted in accordance with the law and the Constitution and under Article 215, the government was supposed not to let any constitutional institution remain dysfunctional. He said it was also important to complete the Election Commission with these two appointments, keeping in view the upcoming local bodies elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to PM on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the two new members of Election Commission from Sindh and Balochistan were appointed according to the procedure prescribed in the Constitution.

Dr Firdous, in a tweet on Saturday, said both new members appointed by the government were considered honest and legal experts as all the country’s bar associations and councils had supported the new appointments. She said the CEC could not refuse taking oath from the new ECP members under the law.

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