Govt Initiates Process For Appointment Of ECP Members

Govt Initiates Process For Appointment Of ECP Members

The government has initiated the process for appointment of four election commissioners and would send the names of probable candidates to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said Barrister Zafarullah Khan, adviser to the Prime Minister on Law.

Backchannel negotiations between the government and the opposition to choose names of suitable candidates for the slots of members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), have also begun.

According to the Constitution, the names of the ECP members are picked with the consent of government and opposition leaders.

Article 213 (2A) of the Constitution states: “The Prime Minister shall in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, forward three names for appointment of the commissioner to a parliamentary committee for hearing and confirmation of any one person.”

Barrister Zafarullah said that under the Constitution, first the names under consideration would be sent to the Prime Minister. After both he and the Leader of the Opposition agreed, these names would be referred to the Parliamentary Committee for nomination.

President Mamnoon Hussain approved the 22nd Constitutional Amendment on June 8, following which bureaucrats, government officers and technocrats have also become eligible for appointment as the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and members of the ECP, in addition to the serving or retired judges of superior courts.

Following the retirement of all four members of the ECP, the fate of some important under-trial cases will hang in the balance. These include a case regarding foreign funding for the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and a case related to the submission of “false affidavits” by PTI leader Aleem Khan.

Under the Constitution, the National Assembly speaker has to form a parliamentary committee to approve the appointment of the election commissioners.

Article 213(2B) of the Constitution says: “The Parliamentary Committee to be constituted by the Speaker shall comprise of 50 per cent members from the Treasury benches and 50 per cent from the Opposition parties, based on their strength in Majlis-i-Shoora (Parliament), to be nominated by the respective parliamentary leaders.”


Previously published in DAWN by Syed Irfan Raza and republished here with permission.