Tuesday November 30, 2021

ECP members from Punjab, KP retire

July 27, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) members from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa bowed out on Monday after completing their five-year term.

Though, as per the law, the new members are to be appointed within 45 days, given the political polarization within the parliament and outside, none can predict how much time it will take to complete the five-member Election Commission. Already, the matter of appointment of ECP members from Sindh and Balochistan could not be resolved for at least one year. Under the Constitution, the ECP comprises chief election commissioner and four members one from each province. The two ECP members, who retired on July 26, are Justice (retd) Altaf Ibrahim Qureshi from Punjab and Justice (retd) Irshad Qaiser from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Under the procedure, the prime minister in consultation with the opposition leader sends three names for each position of ECP membership to a parliamentary panel for confirmation and if they fail to reach consensus, separate lists are sent to the panel for a final decision.

During the term of the PTI government, the issue of appointment of ECP members from Sindh and Balochistan could not be resolved for one year, as the process was marked by indirect consultations between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif.

There is no indication from the government about filling the two ECP members’ vacant seats so far. Needless to say that a potential new tug-of-war can surface between the ruling coalition and the opposition on this issue. Already, the two sides are sharply divided on the proposed electoral amendments, which have been adopted by the National Assembly.The Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs had taken up the Elections (Amendment) Bill 2020 in its meeting on Monday.