After a delay of almost two years, the Ministry of Human Rights has finally appointed Nilofar Bakhtiar as chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW). According to the Ministry of Human Rights’ notification available with Daily Times, Nilofar would hold the position as the new chief of the institution working for human rights. She was a former federal minister and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s central joint secretary. “The prime minister is pleased to approve the appointment of Nilofar Bakhtiar as chairperson NCSW for a term of three years from the date on which she enters upon her office,” reads the notification. The post of commission chairperson turned vacant in October 2019 when Khawar Mumtaz got retired superannuation of her age. A few months back, the HR ministry forwarded two names-Nilofar Bakhtiar and Fauzia Viqar-to Prime Minister Imran Khan for approval of the one final candidate against this slot. According to details, the National Assembly speaker had constituted a 12-member parliamentary committee on appointment of the NCSW chairperson, headed by Senator Falak Naz to fill the constitutional post which was vacant for two years. Some sections of human rights, however, termed the appointment of Bakhtiar as inappropriate. Pakistan Peoples Party MNA Nafisa Shah, a member of the parliamentary committee, said the appointment of Nilofar as the NCSW chairperson was unlawful because the majority of the committee’s members had voted for Fauzia Viqar. In her tweet, Shah said Nilofar lost the election for chairperson of the women’s commission, adding that she has been notified as the chairperson which is unlawful. The PPP MNA said the majority of the members had voted for Fauzia in the committee’s meeting held on June 15. “This is daylight robbery of law and contempt against the parliament. In the election of the NCSW chairperson, 6 votes were cast in favour of FauziaViqar and 5 for Nilofer Bakhtiar. How can this be reversed?” she further claimed. “In our meeting to confirm the chairperson of NCSW, six members voted for opposition nominee Fozia Viqar, five for PTI nominee Nilofar Bakhtiar. Instead of declaring Fauzia as the winner, the committee chairperson Senator Falak Naz fled. What can get crazier than this?” Nafisa Shah had stated. Senator Nuzhat Sadiq, another opposition member on the parliamentary committee, said: “This is a blatant violation of the parliamentary committee’s decision. Election for chairperson NCSW was held in which Fauzia Viqar got six votes and Nilofer Bakhtiar got five votes. This is not acceptable.” The six opposition members on the committee also wrote to National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser on the same day, asking him to confirm Fauzia Viqar and forward her name to the prime minister for appointment as the NCSW chairperson under the rules of the parliamentary committee. “The voting was called by the Chairperson Falak Naz after the interviews. Six votes i.e, Dr Nafisa Shah, Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Senator Nuzhat Sadiq, Tahira Aurangzeb, Shahida Akhtar Ali and Senator Abida Muhammad Azeem voted in favour of nominee Fauzia Viqar. Five votes i.e Asma Hadid, Shaheen Naz Saifullah, Nuzhat Pathan, Senator Sana Jamali and Farukh Khan were cast for nominee Nilofar Bakhtiar,” the opposition members stated in their letter to the NA speaker. The opposition members claimed that the chairperson insisted upon casting her vote in favour of Nilofar Bakhtiar in violation of the committee’s rules. “However, the chairperson insisted on casting the vote in favour of Nilofar Bakhtiar which is against the rules. Rule number 6(4) of the parliamentary committee on appointment of the chairperson of the NCSW rules, 2012 states that ‘the chairman shall, in the event of an equality of votes, have a casting vote’,” the opposition members letter reads. After realising that her vote was not legal and was against the rules, Senator Falak Naz left the chair without announcing the results of the votes, along with the five members who voted for Nilofar Bakhtiar, the letter said. “We are, therefore, apprising you that as per rules, Fauzia Viqar’s name has been confirmed and this may be forwarded to the Speaker and PM Prime Minister for an appointment,” the letter concludes. PTI MNA Nuzhat Pathan told Daily Times that there was a tie between Fauzia Viqar and Nilofar Bakhtiar after the voting by members. “Six opposition members voted for Fauzia Viqar and six treasury members voted for Nilofar Bakhtiar,” she said. Asked about the opposition members’ claim that the chairperson could not vote under the rules, Pathan said the rules did not bar the chairperson from voting on the appointment, adding that the meeting had ended inconclusively.