The opposition parties on Wednesday approached the Supreme Court requesting it to pass an ‘appropriate order’ as deadlock persisted over the appointment of chief election commissioner and two members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from Balochistan and Sindh. Eleven opposition members – Akram Khan Durrani, Ahsan Iqbal, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Nayyar Hussain Bukhari, Farhatullah Babar, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Usman Khan Kakar, Tahir Bizinjo, Hashim Babar, Owais Siddiqui, and Rana Shafiq Khan – have signed the petition submitted in the Supreme Court. “Article 213 of the constitution is silent over the instance where no consensus is reached in parliament over the appointment. This will lead to a constitutional crisis in the country,” the petition argued. “The only viable option left would be to approach this August Court,” it added, while noting that although the terms of two members of the ECP had ended on January 26, the commission had been functional with the presence of the CEC and the two members. “In the near future, the situation will change altogether,” it maintained, referring to the retirement of chief election commissioner on December 6 (tomorrow).According to the plea, remaining two members of the election commission will also retire in January 2020. The petitioners have pleaded to the apex court to take an appropriate decision over the matter to avoid any constitutional crisis in the country. Reacting to the development, Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said it is unfortunate that the opposition has decided to approach the Supreme Court on the appointment of members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). In a tweet, he asked if the politicians are so ‘inexperienced’ that they cannot agree on a single name for the election commission, asking that how will they develop consensus on big issues of the country. The minister urged the opposition to ‘soften’ its stance and reach a decision.The deadlock between the treasury and the opposition benches over the matter persisted on Wednesday, as the parliamentary committee tasked with deciding the matter concluded its meeting without any result. According to the officials familiar with the matter, the opposition has demanded that the government share its nominees for the chief election commissioner’s position before talks can proceed. According to them, the opposition fears that the government may only appoint members to the two vacant seats for Sindh and Balochistan while keeping the CEC slot vacant. The opposition thinks if the positions of four members of the ECP are filled, the senior-most from among them may be nominated by the government as acting CEC instead of a regular appointment made in consultation with the opposition.Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, who spoke after the meeting, insisted that consensus is developing on the matter. Mazari, who is chairing the committee, described the meeting as ‘very good’ and the talks as ‘positive’. She said a meeting will now be called next week to reach an agreement on names for the three posts.A three-member opposition committee to finalise the names for the CEC and two members of the ECP from Sindh and Balochistan had been formed on November 26, during a multi-party conference (MPC) hosted by the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F). The committee comprised PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal, PPP secretary general Nayyar Bokhari and convener of the opposition’s Rehbar Committee and senior JUI-F leader Akram Durrani.On November 30, Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif through a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan had proposed three names for the office of the CEC, urging the prime minister to make ‘serious, sincere and genuine efforts to evolve a consensus’. PM Khan, too, nominated three persons each for the ECP posts through a letter to the NA speaker and the Senate chairman for consideration by the parliamentary committee.The deadlock, however, has persisted with contradictory claims from both the government and the opposition. PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal says both nominees of the PTI for ECP member from Balochistan are not acceptable as one of them is a businessman and the other a UNDP consultant. He said any progress is possible only if the government shows some flexibility.