ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Appointment of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Monday ended without producing any results as the government and opposition failed to reach a consensus on the issue.
However, they decided to hold another meeting on Dec 8 after holding consultations with their leadership. The in-camera meeting was held at the Parliament House with Committee Chairperson and Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari in the chair, to discuss filling vacant posts of ECP members from Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Though the government and the opposition failed to reach any decision, the opposition members in the meeting took a stance the decision on the appointment of ECP Members from Punjab and KP should be taken on merit and should work as independently.
Sources told The News that the opposition members proposed that instead of adopting the formula of one member with the choice of the opposition and the other of the government, appointments should be made on merit.
Talking to the media after the meeting, Shireen Mazari said the government proposed the names on merit and the opposition sought time for consultations. She said the meeting would be held on Dec 8 as the opposition wanted time for consultations due to bye-election in Lahore. “The member will be appointed on merit and the government has given its names on merit,” she added.
Talking to the media, an opposition member of the Parliamentary Committee, Khwaja Saad Rafiq, said the opposition wanted to select a member on merit who could work independently, who could withstand any pressure, and who should not be affiliated with any political party. “The search for best option is continuing,” he said.
He said the government had put forward its point of view and the opposition would respond to it after consultations. “But the basic purpose is that those should be nominated who should not only work independently as the ECP members but also withstand pressure in future.
“Mistakes were made in the past, but it is in the interest of the country that those should be appointed as the ECP members who could work independently,” he added.
Member of the Parliamentary Committee Shahida Akhtar Ali of the Jamiat Ulema Islam Fazl (JUIF) accused the government of using delaying tactics on the issue. She said had the prime minister not made the issue a matter of his ego, it would have not come up in the committee. “It has taken a whole year for appointment of the ECP members, and still there is no change in the situation,” she added.
In the previous meeting last week, the government had shortlisted the names of Raja Aamir Khan from Punjab and Justice (retd) Ikramullah from KP, while the opposition had shortlisted the names of Justice (retd) Tariq Iftikhar from Punjab and Sohail Altaf from KP.