ISLAMABAD      -   The Islamabad High Court (IHC) will on Monday (today) resume hearing in three identical petitions challenging appointment of two members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah will conduct hearing of the petitions filed by two lawmakers including Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi and Member National Assembly Dr Nisar Ahmed Cheema and a lawyer Barrister Jahangir Khan Jadoon.

On the previous hearing, Justice Athar had directed the secretaries of National Assembly and the Senate to place this court order before the National Assembly Speaker and Senate Chairman for joint endeavour to resolve the issue regarding appointment of two members of the ECP. The IHC Chief Justice noted in its order, “In view of the above, the Secretary of the National Assembly of Pakistan, the Secretary of the Senate Secretariat are directed to place copies of this order before the worthy Chairman, Senate and the worthy Speaker of the National Assembly so that both may jointly endeavour to resolve the issue regarding appointmentof Members of the Election Commission between the Treasury and Opposition Benches so that the provisions of the Constitution are upheld in letter and spirit.”“It is noted that the Election Commission

of Pakistan is one of the most important constitutional bodies

and the people of Pakistan will suffer if it is allowed to become non functional,” added the court order.It added that the secretaries of Senate and the National Assembly Secretariat are, therefore, directed to submit a joint report on or before the next date of hearing regarding the outcome of joint efforts made by the Chairman Senate and the Speaker of the National Assembly regarding settlement of disputes between the Treasury and Opposition benches so that they are resolved amicably and the constitutional provisions are upheld by appointing Members of the Election Commission of Pakistan in the manner prescribed under Article 213.The bench remarked in the order that written report has been filed on behalf of the Federation, wherein, it has been suggested that these proceedings be adjourned sine die because a petition has been filed before the august Supreme Court. The court said that the learned Additional Attorney General was asked whether the petition stated to have been filed has been entertained by the apex court. He has answered in the negative. Mere filing of a petition obviously cannot be considered as a valid reason for delaying the adjudication of these petitions wherein questions of law of public importance have been raised.“It is an admitted position that respondents no. 4 and 5 have not been appointed in the manner prescribed under Article 213 read with Article218 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973. On the last date of hearing the learned Additional Attorney General had informed that the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition could not form a consensus and, therefore, the names were forwarded to the Parliamentary Committee as provided under sub article 2A of Article 213 of the Constitution. The Parliamentary Committee constituted by the Speaker under sub article 2B of Article 213 also could not confirm the names from the separate lists sent by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly. In such an eventuality, the President of Pakistan appears to have issued the notifications whereby respondents no 4 and 5 were appointed,”

added the order.Justice Athar stated in the order that the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) represents the people of Pakistan through their chosen representatives.

The two Houses of the Majlis-e-Shoora i.e. the Senate and the National Assembly reflect the ethos, wisdom and aspirations of the people of Pakistan. Both the Houses,

therefore, are expected to resolve political issues through dialogue and in accordance with the democratic

principles so that involving the courts in such matters could be avoided and the courts time is used for deciding pending litigation.He added, “In the instant case, the controversy is regarding appointment

of Members of the Election Commission of Pakistan. The Commission

is a constitutional body established

under Article 218 of the Constitution and the appointment of its Members and the Chief Election

Commission has to be made in accordance with the procedure prescribed

under Article 213.”He maintained that it is, therefore, a constitutional obligation of every member of the Parliament to demonstrate

through his or her conduct, as the case may be, loyalty and obedience

to the Constitution. It is thus an obligation of the members to, individually

and collectively, strive to uphold the constitutional provisions and ensure that constitutional bodies

such as the Election Commission of Pakistan are constituted in the manner prescribed by the Constitution

itself.The bench noted that this court has no doubt that through collective wisdom the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)

can resolve all political issues

and ensure that the constitutional

provisions are followed and implemented in letter and spirit. It is the duty of the custodians of the two Houses i.e. the Chairman Senate and the Speaker of the National Assembly

to ensure that controversies between the Treasury and Opposition

Benches are amicably settled through democratic process. This obligation they owe to the people of Pakistan.Justice Athar continued that in case of appointment of Members of the Election Commission of Pakistan, it appears that there is a stalemate between

the treasury and opposition benches, particularly within the Parliamentary

Committee constituted under sub article 2B of Article 213 of the Constitution. The will of the people

of Pakistan and their collective wisdom ought to be given highest respect by reposing confidence that their chosen representatives in the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) would resolve all the political disputes and uphold the constitutional provisions without interference by the courts.