ISLAMABAD   -  The parliamentary committee on the appointment of members of the ECP may not hold another meeting to finalise appointment of members from the smaller provinces - Sindh and Balochistan - pending for the last six months.

The three parleys between government and opposition to settle the controversial matter could not reach any consensus and now matter may be referred to the apex court soon, background discussions with committee members revealed. The government and opposition members in the committee are in equal number so the voting for the selection of members would not reach any consensus.

The government side may approach, as a last resort, to the Supreme Court to settle the matter as soon as possible. The government prior to approaching the Supreme Court will get legal opinion on it, they said. The government had already missed the constitutional deadline for appointing the members within 45 days.

According to Article 215(4) of the Constitution: “Vacancy in the office of the Commissioner or a member shall be filled within 45 days”. The members from Sindh and Balochistan have not been appointed for the last six months due to difference of opinion between Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and Leader of the House in the National Assembly Imran Khan. The Parliamentary Committee on the appointment of members of the ECP held back- to-back three inconclusive meetings to consider the nomination for appointment of members.

Members from both side – the government and the opposition - insisted for the appointments of names proposed by their own party’s leader. The opposition had suggested names of Salahuddin Mangal, Shah M Jatoi and Rauf Atta for member Balochistan and Khalid Javed, Justice (Retd) Abdul Rasool Memon and Justice (Retd) Noorul Haq Qadri for member Sindh. Members from the government side members had insisted for the names of Munir Kakar, Amanullah Baloch, and Mir Naveed Jan Baloch for slot of member Balochistan and the names of Khalid Mehmood Saddique, Justice (r) Farukh Zia Sheikh and Iqbal Mehmood for Sindh.  Prime Minister Imran Khan and Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif, in their written communication, had not reached on any consensus.

The ECP members Abdul Ghaffar Soomro and Justice (Retd) Shakeel Baloch from Sindh and Balochistan retired on January 26, 2019 while their replacement under the Constitution should have been done by March 12 this year.  Prime Minister’s Special Aide Naeem ul Haque had also hinted to approach the Supreme Court to resolve this matter.