–Opp terms move illegal, says it undermines impartiality of election watchdog
After a months-long deadlock, the government finally appointed the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) for Balochistan and Sindh members on Thursday, irking the opposition parties.
Abdul Ghaffar Soomro and Justice (r) Shakeel Baloch, the ECP members from Sindh and Balochistan, retired in January. Their successors should have been appointed within 45 days of their retirement; however, it faced an inordinate delay because of a rift between the opposition and the government over the proposed names.
“The president has Khalid Mehmood Siddiqui has been appointed from Sindh and Munir Ahmed Khan Kakar has been appointed as a member from Balochistan,” said a statement issued by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.
“In pursuance of paragraph (b) of clause (2) of Article 215 thereof, the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is pleased to appoint the following persons as Members of the Election Commission of Pakistan,” read the handout.
The last meeting of the bipartisan 12-member parliamentary committee on appointment of ECP members held over a month ago had ended in a stalemate. Under Articles 213 and 218, the prime minister in consultation with the opposition leader forwards three names for the appointment of a CEC or commission member to the parliamentary committee for confirmation of one name.
Reacting to the appointment, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb termed the notification of their appointment “unconstitutional”. She said the appointment of the two members bypassed the parliamentary committee formed over the issue.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Khursheed Shah said the opposition was kept in dark regarding the appointments who should have been done in consultation with it.
He questioned the independence of the election watchdog after the move, saying: “With such a decision, the ECP will no longer remain independent and impartial.”
It may be mentioned here the chief election commissioner, Sardar Raza Khan, will be retiring by the end of this year after completing his tenure.