ISLAMAABAD: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif has sent three recommendations to Prime Minister Imran Khan for the post of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC).
Shehbaz, in a letter sent to the prime minister on November 25, recommended the names of former bureaucrat Nasir Mahmood Khosa, former ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani, and retired civil servant Akhlaq Ahmad Tarar.
He noted that the tenure of incumbent CEC Justice (retd) Sardar Raza will expire on December 6. He also reminded the premier that two posts for Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) members are already vacant.
“It is my earnest hope that the merit of these persons will be appreciated for urgent consideration in accordance with the law. Should you require any additional information/clarification, this can be made available forthwith,” the letter read.
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The former chief minister told the Prime Minister Imran that under Section 3 of the Elections Act, 2017, it is a requirement that an ECP bench must have at least three members, with or without the CEC.
He highlighted the impact of not making the appointment in a timely manner, saying: “The consequence will be that the ECP will become dysfunctional on the said date (December 6), unless either a new CEC or one or more members is appointed.”
The PML-N president, citing Article 213 of the Constitution, said that the prime minister should have started the consultation process on the new CEC “much earlier”.
He added that he is “taking the initiative” by forwarding three names to avoid any possible discontinuity in the functioning of the ECP.
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Shehbaz further said that in his opinion the three individuals are “eminently qualified”, while stressing the need to take urgent action on the matter.
“I would strongly urge that this time we must endeavour to avoid any such impasse by making serious, sincere and genuine effort to evolve a consensus,” the letter said.
In a separate letter written on Friday to the prime minister, Shehbaz Sharif also recommended names for two vacant ECP seats from Balochistan and Sindh.
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Shehbaz nominated Nisar Durrani, Justice (retd) Abdul Rasul Memon and Aurangzeb Haq for Sindh; and for Balochistan, he recommended the names of Supreme Court lawyer Shah Muhammad Jatoi, former advocate general of the province Muhammad Rauf Atta and Rahila Durrani.
Earlier this month, the government had appointed Khalid Mehmood Siddiqui from Sindh and Munir Ahmed Kakar from Balochistan as members of the vacant seats.
However, the Islamabad High Court had suspended the presidential notification of their appointment and asked the National Assembly speaker and Senate chairman to resolve the issue by December 7. The deadlock between the government and the opposition over the appointment has remained ever since.