The deadlock on the appointment of two members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) continued to persist between the government and the opposition, paving the way for Supreme Court to settle the matter. A meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and Members of the Election Commission of Pakistan, chaired by its chairperson Dr Shireen Mazari remained inconclusive on Monday to reach any understanding on two names against the vacant positions of the ECP members.
The committee deliberated upon nominations for the appointment of members of the ECP from Sindh and Balochistan. Talking to reporters after the meeting, Mazari regretted that no understanding was reached and the representatives from the opposition political parties rejected the formula formulated by the government. As per the formula, she said that a proposal was floated to appoint one nominee of the opposition from one province and the other the government's nominee from the other province.
"Regretfully, the opposition did not agree to the proposal," she said, adding that now a new committee will be constituted if new names were proposed against the vacant two positions. She said that the prime minister will be apprised of the minutes of the committee meeting, adding that the prime minister can also refer the matter to Supreme Court if the deadlock persists.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's (PML-N) representative in the committee told media persons that the opposition was of the opinion that its nominee be appointed from Sindh while the government's nominee be appointed from Balochistan. He said that the government did not agree to the opposition's proposal. "The Prime Minister has no authority to make appointments of the ECP and now the matter will be resolved constitutionally," he said, adding that the matter will be referred the Supreme Court.
The ECP has been incomplete for last five months after its members from Sindh and Balochistan retired on January 26. After failure between the two sides to settle the matter in the consultation process between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, the two forwarded their nominees to the 12-member Parliamentary Committee, having equal representation six each from both the sides as per the Constitution.
The Prime Minister has proposed the names of Amanullah Baloch, former district and sessions judge Quetta, Munir Kakar, a lawyer; and Mir Naveed Jan Baloch, a businessman and former caretaker minister in the Balochistan government, as the government nominees from Balochistan. And the names of Khalid Mehmood Siddiqui, a lawyer; former Justice Farrukh Zia Sheikh, a former judge of the Sindh High Court (SHC); and Iqbal Mehmood, inspector general of Sindh Police (retired), for their nomination as a member from Sindh. The opposition leader has proposed three names against one vacant position of the ECP from Balochistan, including Salahuddin Mengal, former provincial advocate general and senior advocate of the Supreme Court; Shah Mohammad Jatoi, advocate of the Supreme Court; and Mohammad Rauf Ata, former advocate general and senior advocate of the apex court.
Three names against one vacant member of the ECP from Sindh as forwarded by the opposition leader include Khalid Javed, senior lawyer of the Supreme Court and former president of the Sindh High Court Bar Association; former Justice Abdul Rasool Memon, former SHC judge; and former Justice Noorul Haq Qureshi, former judge of the Islamabad High Court (IHC).