ISLAMABAD  - Hinting to resolve longstanding deadlock about the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner within a couple of days, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah took opposition parties into confidence regarding proposed names to develop consensus on one name out of five.
Opposition leader, after consultative meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, contacted opposition parties’ leaders about five names, including Justice (Retd) Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, Justice (Retd) Ajmal Mian, Justice (Retd) Rana Bhagwan Das, Justice (Retd) Tariq Pervaiz and former Justice (Retd) Tassud Hussian Jilani.
Shah, who is leaving abroad on November 9 (Sunday), hurriedly contacted almost all the opposition parties to take them into confidence apparently to avoid criticism for not consulting with them on an important matter.
Albeit consultation between opposition leader and the prime minister is constitutionally enough to appoint CEC but the opposition leader consulted JI’s leader Sirajul Haq, PTI’s leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi, MQM’s leader Farooq Sattar, ANP’s leader Asfand Yar Wali, QWP Chief Sherpao and FATA’s representative G.G Jamal.
Sources said that three names, including former Chief Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, Justice (Retd) Ajmal Mian, Justice (Retd) Rana Bhagwan Das would not be in race due to some technicalities. As Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui was also candidate for the President Election in 2013, Ajmal Mian served as secretary law and constitutional amendment is required to appoint Rana Bhagwan Das as upcoming CEC.
Talking to newsmen, Shah advised government side to hold consultation with all the parties about the appointment Chief Election Commissioner (CEC).
To a question about consulting with PTI, he said that the resignations of PTI lawmakers are still not accepted so he would also consult with this opposition party.
To another question about the objection on names, he said that major opposition party (PPP) has raised objection over the name former Chief Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui and government side was not willing on the name Justice (Retd) Ajmal Mian. Whereas, Justice (Retd) Rana Bhagwan Das was himself avoiding as constitutional amendment is required to appoint him as CEC. “I will consult with all the opposition parties about the proposed names,” he said, before consulting opposition parties.
Sources said that MQM would share its proposed name with opposition leader Syed Khursheed Shah today (Friday) while other opposition parties give their opinion in a day or two. Justice (Retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid was proposed from Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf(PTI) when opposition leader consulted with PTI’s leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi, they added.
The appointment of CEC, sources said, would be made before Saturday as opposition leader Khursheed Shah had already blamed government for delay in this important matter. “Ball is in the court of government as PM is not consulting with me about the matter of CEC’s appointment,” Khursheed Shah told media other day (Wednesday). This statement ostensibly made Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to contact with opposition leader and complete the process in the week.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan had ordered the government to appoint a regular Chief Election Commissioner. A full bench of the Supreme Court last week had set November 13 deadline for the appointment of a new CEC, failing which the judge of the apex court would be withdrawn from officiating as the acting CEC.