ISLAMABAD - In the light of deliberations between Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar and Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah and their consultations with the heads of other parliamentary parties, a broader consensus has been evolved on the name of Justice (r) Sardar Raza Khan who would likely to be the future chief election commissioner of Pakistan.

To complete the legal and constitutional formalities, Ishaq Dar and Khursheed Shah, after their meeting on Wednesday, forwarded a panel of three names to the Parliamentary Committee on Appointment of Chief Election Commissioner.

The 12-member committee would be meeting here today (Thursday) to complete the formalities and make formal announcement of the name of Justice (r) Sardar Raza Khan who is currently holding the office of chief justice of Federal Shariat Court, sources aware of the deliberations of the meeting between the leader of opposition and the finance minister, who on behalf of the prime minister held these consultations, said.

The Parliamentary Committee on Appointment of Chief Election Commissioner is meeting today (Thursday) with PML-N Senator Rafique Rajwana in the chair at the Parliament House to discuss the three names forwarded to it.

Talking to media persons after the meeting, both Senator Ishaq Dar and Khursheed Shah announced the panel of three names – Justice (r) Sardar Raza Khan, Justice(r) Tariq Pervaiz and Justice(r) Tanvir Ahmad Khan.

When asked about consensus on any single person, Ishaq Dar avoided the answer and said, instead of sending separate lists to the committee, both the sides showed political maturity and sent a panel of three persons to the Parliamentary Committee to pick any of them.

On his request, Leader of Opposition Khursheed Shah announced the names finalised by them after consultations with all the heads of parliamentary parties and listed the names of heads of several parties to whom they had talked.

To a question, Shah said he had also phoned PTI Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi who thanked him for informing him of the names the government and the opposition had finalised.

Sources aware of the deliberations of the meeting said that after the serious reservations shown by Khursheed Shah over the candidature of Justice (r) Ajmal Mian, his name was excluded from the list while the name of Justice(r) Tanvir Ahmad Khan included in his place from the government side.

These sources further said the name of Justice (r) Sardar Raza Khan and Justice (r) Tariq Pervaiz came from the opposition side while both the government and the opposition decided in favour of Justice(r) Sardar Raza Khan in the light of the consultation they had with heads of other parliamentary parties.

Currently, Justice (r) Sardar Raza Khan is holding the office of the chief justice of Federal Shariat Court. In the past his name had been considered for the slot of NAB chairman as well.

The sources further said that as per the constitution, in case of disagreement between the leader of house and leader of the opposition over some name, both are required to dispatch their separate lists of three members each to the 12-member Parliamentary Panel for Appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and the committee would pick one of the six with two-thirds majority that is eight in the given case.

Responding to a question, Senator Ishaq Dar said they were constrained to accomplish the task of consultations in a short time to meet the deadline of December 5 given by the apex court to fill this constitutional vacancy otherwise they would have spent more time on consultations with the political parties to have consensus on it.

Leader of Opposition Khursheed Shah said it was not obligatory for them to have input of other political parties on the appointment of CEC, but they did it to have broader consensus on the subject and that was the reason that almost all the heads of the parliamentary parties were engaged in the consultation.

Shah said he had also taken into confidence other political parties, including PTI, MQM, PML-Zia, Qaumi Watan Party chief Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao and ANP, adding PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi had agreed on these names.

In the 12-member parliamentary panel to be headed by Senator Rafique Rajwana, six members belong to PML-N, three to PPP and one each to PTI, MQM and ANP, giving a commanding position to PML-N and PPP to impose the decision of their choice because these two parties alone had more than two-thirds strength in the body.

Keeping in view the significance of the committee, PML-N had not included any of its coalition partners in the quota of half the strength in the committee. In the committee four members are from the upper house while eight are from the National Assembly.

The members of the committee are Senator Rafique Rajwana, Captain (r) Muhammad Safdar, Muhammad Junaid Anwar Chaudhry, Muhammad Arshad Khan Leghari, Muhammad Ayaz Soomro, Shazia Marri, Dr Farooq Sattar, Dr Darshan, Haji Muhammad Adeel, Islamuddin Sheikh, Shehryar Afridi and Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Nasir.