ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Saturday discussed the issue of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) members in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa with PML-N president Mian Shehbaz Sharif.
According to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) spokeswoman Marriyum Aurangzeb, Bilawal telephoned Shehbaz Sharif and discussed the issue of appointments to the ECP vacant position from the two provinces.
Two seats of the ECP - one each from the Punjab and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa - fell vacant after the retirement of members on July 26.
She said that the two leaders discussed the ECP members' appointment and agreed they would proceed together on the issue after detailed deliberations.
Meanwhile, the PPP, which also issued a statement following the meeting, said that the duo, besides the appointment of the ECP members, also discussed the overall political situation in the country. The sources within the PPP and the PML-N said that the opposition has decided to put up a united front on the issue of the ECP members' appointments.
They said that deliberations were held between Bilawal and Shehbaz over the three candidates proposed by Prime Minister Imran Khan for Punjab and the KP each.
For Punjab, a discussion was held to consider candidates, Ahsan Mehboob, Raja Aamir Khan, and Syed Pervaiz Abbas. For Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, deliberations revolved around candidates, retired justice Ikramullah Khan, Faridullah Khan, and Muzzammil Khan. Bilawal and Shehbaz also agreed to go to whatever extent it takes to oppose the government's proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority, they added.
They said that the opposition agreed to have a joint stance on President Arif Alvi's speech during a joint session of the parliament that kicks off its fourth year.
The contact between the two opposition leaders comes amid a rift in the opposition's Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance that the PPP quit in April this year, along with another member, the Awami National Party (ANP).
While Shehbaz has indicated a desire to see both parties come back into the PDM fold, the PDM chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, has moved from a similar sentiment to recently declare PPP as back-stabbers.
The PPP chairman, in response, said "we trusted many friends but all of them cheated us".
Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote a letter to Shehbaz last week over the matter of the ECP appointments, in accordance with Articles 213 and 218 of the Constitution, so these vacancies may be filled in consultation with the Opposition.
According to the letter, two members of the ECP from Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa retired on July 26 and so two vacancies in the ECP currently exist.
The prime minister has nominated three names each for the two vacant ECP seats in Punjab and the KP.
For Punjab, the prime minister has nominated Ahsan Mehboob - a retired BS-22 officer from the Police Service, Raja Aamir Khan - an advocate at Supreme Court of Pakistan, and Syed Pervaiz Abbas - a retired BS-22 officer from Pakistan Administrative Service.
For Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, PM recommended retired justice Ikramullah Khan, Faridullah Khan - a retired BS-22 officer from Pakistan Administrative Service, and Muzzammil Khan an advocate at Pakistan Supreme Court.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021