- Thanks to PTI’s bent for loyalists
Prime Minister Imran Khan wants docile institutions that would willingly carry out his biddings. He has an inherent dislike for those that defy him, particularly the Election Commissions. He dismissed two successive Election Commissioners appointed by himself to conduct PTI’s intra-party polls. He has been at loggerheads with the outgoing Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan for opening an enquiry into the PTI’s offshore accounts. Unable to dismiss him, he tried to hinder the enquiry for over five years.
The ECP has become dysfunctional with the retirement of Mr Justice (rtd) Sardar Mohammad Raza on Thursday. Earlier deliberations to fill the vacancies created by the retirement of two ECP members 11 months back had failed due to the lack of flexibility on the part of the PTI members of the bipartisan parliamentary panel. The impasse led the government to get its nominees appointed through a Presidential order which was shot down by the IHC and the matter sent back to Parliament for resolution with a caution that it should be resolved before the retirement of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC). The government again failed to carry out the orders, leading to the suspension of all sorts of activities that the ECP is required to undertake under the Constitution.
While the Constitution requires consultations between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition for the appointment of the CEC, Mr Khan has declined all along to hold talks with Mian Shehbaz Sharif. To get the ECP completed at the earliest, Mian Shehbaz has already sent his list of nominees for the CEC. Imran Mr has hesitated to forward his list as he is still looking for a loyalist for the post who would end the ongoing enquiry into PTI’s offshore accounts and act as directed by the Prime Minister during his tenure.
The Opposition approached the IHC to help resolve the issue. The Court has given the government and opposition 10 days to end the deadlock on appointments. Taking an issue that comes under the purview of the Parliament to court is bad for the system, as it amounts to Parliament ceding its turf to the court. The continuous delay on the part of the PTI government to make its nominations is unhelpful, but it is to be hoped that it manages to overcome the present imbroglio.