ISLAMABAD - The parliamentary body tasked with fianlising the new chief election commissioner and reorganising the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will meet on April 6 to elect its chairman.
Amid hectic behind-the-scene lobbying by the ruling PPP to get its nominee elected to the top slot of the body, National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza has convened the meeting at the Parliament House. However, any final decision on the PPP's nominee would be held during the PPP Central Executive Committee scheduled to be held on Sunday, April 3, a day before the death anniversary of the PPP founding chairman Zulfikar Ali Bhutto due to be observed on April 4 at Larkana, Sindh.
Per the notification, the 12-member body comprises of four senators and eight MNAs with even representation from the ruling coalition and the opposition parties. However, since the opposition parties are not on the same page, it is likely that the slot would go to the ruling coalition's nominee. However, in case all opposition parties forge an alliance, chances for which are bleak, there is a possibility that the opposition can give the treasury benches a tough time in getting its nominee elected as the chairman, as the body would also finalise the name of the next chief election commissioner who would be responsible for conducting free, fair and transparent elections in 2013.
A source told Pakistan Today that Senator Islamuddin Shaikh or Syed Khusrhid Shah could likely be the chairman of the committee.
Shaikh is known for his close contacts with the Presidency, while Shah is also an important figure. However, any decision would be taken in the consultative talks between the collation parties of the government, which is likely to be made in a day or two.
The members include four senators - Islamuddin Shaikh of the PPP, Haji Mohammad Adeel of the ANP, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri of the JUI-F and Haroon Akhtar Khan of the PML-Q. The MNAs include Religious Affairs Minister Syed Khurshid Shah and Arif Aziz Shaikh of the PPP, Dr Farooq Sattar of the MQM, Haji Munir Aurakzai of the FATA parliamentary group, Khawaj Asif, Abdul Qadir Baloch and Tehmina Daultana of the PML-N and Amir Muqam of the PML-Q.
The parliamentary committee would finalise the names of members of the ECP, which would be proposed by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in consultation with the opposition leader. The committee would also re-organise the ECP with appointment of its members and chairman under fresh mechanism laid down in the constitution. The ECP members and chairman are to be inducted in consultation with opposition leader.