LAHORE  - With the postponement of Local Government elections, it has become quite clear now that a new Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) would be supervising the polls whenever they are held. 

The new CEC could either be a serving judge of the Supreme Court, yet again, or a nominee of the government, if the latter makes an early decision in this regard.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is going to retire next month (December 11) taking alongwith him the desire of Local Government elections being held during his tenure.

Justice Tasadduq Hussain Jilani, presently performing duties as Acting CEC, would replace him. Consequently, the office of CEC would become vacant on December 12.

As per the Constitutional position, if the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition don’t agree on some name to be appointed as new CEC by that time or before it, the new Chief Justice (present CEC) would appoint the senior most judge as the CEC.

Justice Nasirul Mulk Mengal would be the new CEC in such an eventuality.

“The present position of Justice Tasadduq Jilani would not be a hindrance in the way of his becoming the new Chief Justice of Pakistan”, former Punjab Governor and legal wizard  Sardar Latif Khan Khosa opined.  Talking to The Nation, Khosa said that the present CEC was first a judge and then a CEC having acting charge of the post.

He also informed that Justice Jilani was also performing duties as Supreme Court Judge besides fulfilling his duties as CEC.

He confirmed that new Chief Justice could also appoint a senior most judge as CEC in case the government fails to appoint its nominee.

It merits mention here that since the resignation of Fakhruddin Ibrahim as CEC, the Federal government has not yet started the process of consultation with Leader of the Opposition over the appointment of the new CEC who has to be a consensus nominee under the Constitution.

Latif Khosa further stated that there was no time frame mentioned in the Constitution within which the government may be bound to appoint a new CEC. An Acting CEC, in his opinion, may continue for an indefinite period of time if the political government fails to come up with a replacement.