ISLAMABAD: After several months of back and forth about key appointments to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the government has decided to nominate Sikander Sultan Raja as the new Chief Election Commissioner, confirmed Federal Minister on Human Rights Shireen Mazari on Tuesday.
The move comes after a day after Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif sent an amended list of the opposition’s nominees to the government.
The only amendment in the opposition’s list of three nominees was the addition of former attorney general Irfan Qadir in place of former foreign secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani. The other two [names] were the same — Nasir Mehmood Khosa, brother of former chief justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa, and Akhlaq Ahmed Tarar, a former federal secretary.
“It is unfortunate that the process which I had initiated on 25th of September 2019, fulfilling my duty/responsibility under Article 213 (2-A) of the Constitution has been subject to unnecessary, inordinate delays and a consensus has not yet been reached. While the revised panel proposed by you […] is under consideration, in the meantime I would request you to consider the following list of nominees, which have been revised keeping in view changes in the status of the original nominees since the consultation process started,” read the opposition leader’s letter to the PM.
The opposition leader had suggested to the prime minister to proceed in accordance with the binding judgments of the Supreme Court mentioned in his previous letters regarding the appointment of ECP members.
On the other hand, PM Imran had proposed three names for the CEC to Shehbaz. The nominees from the government were all retired bureaucrats, namely Jamil Ahmad, Fazal Abbas Maken, and Sikandar Sultan Raja.
The parliamentary committee on appointment of ECP members met on Monday and the amended list of the opposition’s nominees received from London was shared with its members. The committee was scheduled to meet again on Tuesday (today) to finalise the decision on the CEC’s appointment.
“We have reached close to a consensus,” a member of the parliamentary committee told media. He had said the former secretary of Railways Sikandar Sultan Raja in all probability is to be picked up for the top slot of the election body.
He had said the opposition had proposed names for the CEC just to meet a legal formality as it is for sure that the CEC is to be selected from the government’s list and the two members are to be picked up from the opposition’s lists. He had said Nisar Durrani and Shah Mohammad Jatoi were most likely to be picked up as ECP members from Sindh and Balochistan.