Shehbaz Sharif suggests names for ECP members from Punjab, KP

Author: Staff Report

Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly has written a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan wherein he suggested names for appointment as members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

For the vacant post of ECP member from Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif has suggested the names of Justice (r) Tariq Iftikhar Ahmad, Muhammad Javed Anwar, Justice (r) Mushtaq Ahmed, Khalid Masood Chaudhary, Irfan Qadir and Irfan Ali.

For the vacant post of ECP member form KP, the NA opposition leader has proposed the names of Syed Afsar Shah, Sardar Hussain Shah and Sohail Altaf.

Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan had written a letter to Shehbaz Sharif for filling the vacant posts of two members in the ECP. According to the letter, Prime Minister Imran had proposed the names of Ahsan Mahboob, ex-officer of the Police Service of Pakistan; Raja Amer Khan, advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan; and Dr Syed Pervaiz Abbas, a retired officer of the Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) for the vacant post of the ECP member from Punjab.

For the appointment of the ECP member from KP, the prime minister had suggested the names of retired Justice Ikramullah Khan; Faridullah Khan, ex-officer PAS; and Muzammil Khan, advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Under the Constitution, the prime minister is required to initiate consultations with the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly for jointly recommending a panel of three consensus nominees per vacancy for confirmation of one of them by a parliamentary committee. In case there is no agreement, the prime minister and the opposition leader are supposed to separately send three names each to the committee having equal representation from the treasury and opposition benches. The law mandates that no ECP position should stay vacant for more than 45 days.

“I am in receipt of your letter No 1769 dated 26th August, 2021 regarding nominations for appointment of Members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” the letter written by Shehbaz Sharif to Prime Minister Imran Khan read.

“I am constrained to once again point out for the record, that the ruling quoted by you in Para 3 of your letter with regard to “the consultative process should be in writing” has been mentioned by the Honourable Supreme Court in Para 36 of PLD 2011 SC 365 as a finding of the High Court of Sindh in the case of Sindh High Court Bar Association vs Federation of Pakistan and 4 others (PLD 2009 Karachi 408). I had mentioned this in my letters dated 7th April, 2019, and 6th December, 2019, but you have again mistakenly ascribed the ruling to the Honourable Supreme Court itself,” the letter read.

“Please note that while the consultative process should be reduced in writing, we should proceed in accordance with the binding judgments of the Honourable Supreme Court relating to Article 213(2A) cited by me in previous correspondence, requiring that ‘consultation’ has to be “effective, meaningful, purposive, consensus-oriented, leaving no room for complaint of arbitrariness or unfair play” (PLD 1996 SC 324); “serious, sincere and genuine effort to evolve a consensus” (PLD 2011 SC 365); “by all means the first priority has to be directed to evolving consensus between the consultees by mutual discussion of the merits and demerits of the concerned candidate” (PLD 2009 SC 879), so that the “consultation practically amounts to an effort towards meeting of minds” (PLD 2013 SC 568),” the letter further read.

“Since the 45-day period for filling of vacancies of ECP Members mentioned in Article 215(4) has already expired, it is necessary that the consultative process be completed urgently. I am giving in depth consideration to the names sent by you,” it added.

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