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ISLAMABAD: The Parliamentary Committee on Appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and Members of the Election Commission of Pakistan has formed an ‘unofficial’ subcommittee in a bid to forge consensus between government and opposition on the lingering appointment of two ECP members.

The parliamentary panel held an in camera meeting on Wednesday under the chair of Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari.

In the meeting, both the sides, government and opposition, agreed on the formation of a four-member subcommittee to finalise the names for the slots of ECP members from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, it is leant.

The subcommittee comprises of two members each from government and opposition.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Planning Minister Asad Umar represent the government’s side in the sub panel whereas former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Khawaja Saad Rafique from Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) are opposition members of the subcommittee, according to sources.

The sub panel has been mandated to hold meetings to finalise candidates for the two vacant slots in the ECP and submit their recommendations to the parliamentary panel that would take a final decision in this regard, sources said.

Sources said that Raja Amir Khan and former Justice Ikramullah are government’s nominations for the slot of members ECP from Punjab and KP respectively.

The opposition has put weight behind former Justice Tariq Iftikhar and Sohail Altaf for Punjab and KP ECP members positions respectively, it is further learnt.

The 12-member parliamentary panel, with Dr Mazari as its Chairperson, comprises of six senators and Members National Assembly (MNAs) each from government and opposition.

The government members in the committee are: Human Rights Minister Dr Mazari MNA, Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak MNA, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry MNA, Planning Minister Asad Umar MNA, Railways Minister Senator Azam Swati, and Senator Manzoor Kakar.

The opposition members are: Raja Pervaiz Ashraf MNA, Rana Sanaullah MNA, Khawaja Saad Rafique MNA, Shahida Akhtar Ali MNA, Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar and Senator Taj Haider.

There are four ECP members—one from each province. ECP Members Justice ® Altaf Ibrahim Qureshi (Punjab) and former justice Irshad Qaiser (KP) retired on July 26, this year. Since then, the two slots of ECP members are lying vacant.

The parliamentary panel has previously held meetings regarding the appointment of the two ECP members but these meetings have ended up inconclusive and deadlock between the two sides has persisted.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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