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ISLAMABAD: The opposition members in the Parliamentary Committee on appointment of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), on Monday, claimed a "positive" progress and hoped that the differences on names of the candidates would end in the next meeting.

The in-camera meeting of the parliamentary panel chaired by its chairperson Dr Shireen Mazari held at the Parliament House to discuss the appointment of the ECP members from Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa who got retired on July 26.

The committee after thorough discussions, dropped two names - one nominated by prime minister and another by opposition leader in the National Assembly.

Following the lack of consensus during the consultation process between Prime Minister Imran Khan and opposition leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, the parliamentary panel was constituted as per the constitution and the two forwarded their nominees, accordingly.

The prime minister has forwarded the names of Ahsan Mehboob, Advocate Raja Amir Khan, and Dr Syed Pervez Abbas from Punjab, while from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the names of former Justice Ikramullah Khan, Faridullah, and Muzzamil Khan have also been forwarded to the panel.

The opposition leader has forwarded six names from Punjab, including former Justice Tariq Iftikhar, former Justice Mushtaq Ahmad, Khalid Masood Chaudhry, Irfan Qadir, Mohammad Javed Anwar, and Irfan Ali.

Whereas, for the nomination against the ECP member from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the opposition leader has forwarded three names, including Syed Afsar Shah, Safdar Hussan Shah, and Sohail Altaf.

Talking informally to reporters after the meeting, committee member, representing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Rana Sanaullah Khan said that the in-camera session of the panel reviewed the credentials of the candidates, adding that those members who do not qualify on technical grounds, were removed from the list.

"There was positive progress in today's meeting and I am hopeful that we would be able to evolve consensus on all the names in the next meeting of the committee," he expressed the hope.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) representative Raja Pervez Ashraf said that the committee shortlisted some of the candidates and the final decision would be taken in the next meeting on Wednesday.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) representative in the committee Shahida Akhtar Ali maintained that ethics do not allow the government members, which had earlier raised objection on the ECP to become part of the consultations on the appointment of the ECP members.

"The ethics do not allow those to get membership of this committee who had earlier raised objection on the ECP role and also stated to set the Commission ablaze. On what grounds are you holding membership of this committee. We've reservations on this," she said, in clear reference to committee member Azam Swati, who is representing the government along with others in the committee.

About the meeting, she said that the names of two candidates - Faridullah from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa forwarded by the prime minister and Irfan Qadir from Punjab forwarded by the opposition leader - were dropped on technical grounds. She said that the committee would deliberate upon the remaining names in its next meeting on Wednesday.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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