–Qureshi will not be able to hear any complaints of defection or disqualification till appointment of regular CEC
ISLAMABAD: A day after the retirement of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (r) Sardar Muhammad Raza, former judge Altaf Ibrahim Qureshi on Friday took oath as the acting CEC.
It merits a mention here that according to Article 217, the most senior member of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is eligible to act as the CEC if the office is vacant or the commissioner is “absent or unable to perform the functions of his office due to any other cause”.
Earlier, a senior ECP official said that many important activities of the poll body, including revision of electoral rolls and scrutiny of political parties’ funds, will come to a complete standstill while the conduct of any by-polls and preparations for local government elections will also come to a halt.
Acting CEC Qureshi will not be able to form a bench to hear any complaint as the minimum strength of a bench under the existing law has to be three. This means all cases of defection and disqualification will remain pending until the appointment of a regular chief election commissioner.
On Thursday, the government finally proposed three names for the post of new chief election commissioner. The government’s nominees included incumbent ECP secretary Babar Yaqoob, former federal secretaries Fazal Abbas Maiken and Arif Ahmad Khan.
The parliamentary committee on the appointment of CEC and ECP members will meet on Tuesday to consider the three names each proposed by the government and the opposition for the positions of CEC and ECP members from Sindh and Balochistan.
National Assembly Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif had proposed the names of former federal secretaries Nasir Mehmood Khosa, Akhlaq Ahmed Tarar and former diplomat Jalil Abbas Jillani for the post of CEC. He had also proposed the names of Nisar Durrani, Justice (r) Abdul Rasul Memon, former Sindh High Court registrar and Aurangzeb Haq as ECP member from Sindh.
For the office of the ECP member from Balochistan, he suggested the names of senior Supreme Court lawyer Shah Mohammad Jatoi, former advocate general Mohammad Rauf Atta and Raheela Durrani.
Meanwhile, the government proposed the names of Babar Yaqoob, Fazal Abbas and Arif Khan for the CEC position following approval from Prime Minister Imran Khan.
For the office of the ECP member from Balochistan, the prime minister recommended the names of Dr Faiz Kakar, Mir Naveed Jan Baloch, a former caretaker minister in the provincial government, and former district and sessions judge, Quetta, Amanullah Baloch.
Yesterday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday directed the parliament to resolve the deadlock over the appointment of members within 10 days.