Composition of Election Commission won't change
Constitutional Experts Committee on Wednesday implied that the permanent composition of the Election Commission could not be dissolved by any legislative or executive action. In pursuance of the decision taken in the Islamabad Long March Declaration of January 17, a meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Farooq H Naek, Federal Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs to discuss the composition of the Election Commission of Pakistan.
Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2013
The Committee considered various aspects of the matter referred and after deliberating over the relevant constitutional provisions, there was a consensus that neither the Chief Election Commissioner nor any member of the Election Commission could be removed from office by the fiat or discretion of the Government.
The committee members observed that Article 218 of the Constitution provides for the composition of a permanent Election Commission for the purpose of holding elections to both the houses of the Parliament and the Provincial Assemblies. The Committee said that as far as the question of Chief Election Commissioner and individual members is concerned their tenure is provided in Article 215 as five years from the date the Chief Election Commissioner or member enters upon his office and the process of removal is only in the manner prescribed in Article 209 for the removal of a Judge of a Superior Court.
It further said that Article 209 of Constitution envisages a reference by the president on grounds which do not appear to be available against the Chief Election Commissioner or any incumbent member of the Commission. "The Constitution envisages security of tenure for the Chief Election Commissioner and members of the Commission which cannot be taken away without an amendment in the Constitution, which may itself be controversial and unattainable," it added.
The committee members were of the view that in the light of aforementioned provisions of the Constitution neither the Chief Election Commissioner nor any member of the Commission can be removed by legislative or executive action. Senior Advocates of the Supreme Court of Pakistan including S M Zafar, Aitzaz Ahsan, Abdul Latif Afridi, Dr Khalid Ranjha, Dr Muhammad Farrogh Naseem and Professor Hammayun Ehsan were present in the meeting.