ISLAMABAD - Rejecting the demand of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri to bring changes in the Election Commission of Pakistan, the team of legal and constitutional experts are unanimous in their view that neither the Chief Election Commissioner nor any of its members could be removed from office by the discretion of the government.In pursuance of the decision taken in the Islamabad Long March Declaration dated January 17, a meeting of legal and constitutional experts was held under the chair of Federal Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Farooq H Naek to examine the demand of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri to bring structural reforms in the ECP.The committee considered various aspects of the matter referred to it and after deliberating over the relevant constitutional provisions there was a consensus that neither the CEC nor any member of the ECP could be removed from office by the discretion of the govt.The committee noted that Article 218 of the constitution provides for the composition of a permanent Election Commission for the purpose of holding elections to both the houses of the Parliament and the Provincial Assemblies. The permanent composition of the Election Commission implies that it could not be dissolved through any legislative or executive action. As far as the question of Chief Election Commissioner and individual members is concerned their tenure is provided in Article 215 as five years from the date the Chief Election Commissioner or member enters upon his office and the process of removal is only in the manner prescribed in Article 209 for the removal of a Judge of a Superior Court. Article 209 of Constitution envisages a reference by the president on grounds, which do not appear to be available against the CEC or any incumbent member of the Commission.Besides Federal Law Minister those who attended the meeting included SM Zafar, Aitzaz Ahsan, Abdul Latif Afridi, Dr Khalid Ranjha, Dr Muhammad Farrogh Naseem and Prof Hammayun Ehsan.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 24-Jan-2013 here.