ISLAMABAD - The PML-N government is ostensibly paving the way to appoint Rana Bhagwandas on the post of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), as the National Assembly passed 'The Federal Public Service Commission (amendment) Bill, 2014' with certain amendment on Friday.

The government side removing a legal hitch in the proposed appointment of Justice (Retd) Rana Bhagwandas as new chief election commissioner, even succeeded to unanimously pass the Federal Public Service Commission (amendment) Bill, 2014.

The proposed bill, moved by Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid, though passed unanimously, it saw little opposition from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) on its contents.

Taking the floor, Dr Shireen Mazari adopted a principled stance that person specific amendments should not be made in the bill. "Amendment should not be person specific in the bill," said Mazari, without naming any specific person. Clarifying the objections, Zahid Hamid rushed to remark that there was no person specific amendment in the bill.

However, the proposed amendment is allowing reappointment of the former FPSC chairman only to constitutional office whereas the bar on his reappointment in other services would stay.

According to the statement of objects and reasons, the bill seeks to amend the Federal Public Commission Ordinance, 1977 (XLV of 1977) with the object to attract the highly qualified and skilled persons to join the Commission.

"Presently, the members of the Commission, upon completion of term, are not eligible for further employment in the service of Pakistan. This is discouraging for well qualified persons to join the Commission on one hand and is an impediment in benefiting from the experience of well qualified persons for the public service later on, if their further employment is required to a constitutional office in public interest''.

It would not be out of place here that the Clause 5 of the FPSC ordinance titled "Ineligibility for further appointment" reads: "On ceasing to hold office, a member shall not be eligible for further employment in the service of Pakistan."

Since Rana Bhagwandas, who was appointed as acting chief justice of Pakistan during the judicial crisis in 2007, has served as the FPSC chairman after his retirement from the Supreme Court, he is ineligible for future appointment in the services of Pakistan. The office of the CEC has been vacant when retired Justice Fakhruddin G Ebrahim resigned in July last year.

The CEC was earlier appointed by the president but under Article 213 of the Constitution, the prime minister in consultation with the leader of opposition is required to forward three names to the parliamentary committee for confirmation of one of them.

It was also reported that Pakistan Muslim league-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party have reached on consensus after parleys about the name of Rana Bhagwandas as appointment of chief election commissioner (CEC) couple of day before.

Whereas PTI, the second largest opposition party in the NA, has also demanded that Justice (Retd) Rana Bhagwandas, a highly respected and credible judge, not be humiliated by being appointed as a powerless chief election commissioner (CEC) as before.