Islamabad/PESHAWAR - Prime Minister has sought a report from National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser about progress on consultations being held between the government opposition in the parliament over appointment of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and two members of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Informed sources said that the prime minister has asked Asad Qaiser to resolve the issue in consultations with opposition parties and build consensus about other issues relating to legislation on issues of public importance.

According to sources, the prime minister is keen to resolve the issue of ECP appointments because he wants local government elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to be held at the earliest. He does not want these polls to be delayed beyond March next year.

Prime Minister Khan also wants that legislation should also be expedited on the issues of public importance pending in the parliament, according to the sources.

Chief Election Commissioner (r) Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza called it a day on Friday Dec 6 upon completion of his five-year tenure, amid a deadlock between government and the opposition over nominees for the electoral body’s top post and two members of the commission from Sindh and Balochistan.

The ECP member from Punjab, Justice (r) Altaf Ibrahim, who happens to be senior-most member of the commission, is serving as acting CEC.

The government and the opposition have been engaged in talks for filling the CEC position and other two vacancies but have failed to reach a consensus so far.

Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser while addressing a public gathering in Charsadda on Saturday that the government and the opposition could reach an agreement over appointment of CEC by Monday (today).

Pervaiz Khattak

Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak said on Sunday that the government was trying its best to appoint CEC and ECP members though consensus with opposition to ensure transparency.

Addressing a public meeting in Peshawar, he said they have already held three key meetings with opposition for it and were ready to have a forth one.

The minister said the government did not want to give or discuss the power of the Parliament in courts and it wanted to make legislation through a viable dialogue and consensus with the opposition.

Rejecting the impression of a possible in-house change, he said it was just a rumour spread by Maulana Fazlur Rehman. The government was stable and Prime Minister Imran Khan will complete his five year tenure, he added.

Talking about Fazl’s criticism on government’s Kashmir policy, he said the government has taken every step to support Kashmir cause and raised voice against the brutalities by the Indian forces in the occupied valley. It was actually Maulana’s dharna which damaged the Kashmir cause, he added.

Khattak said that one should see cracks in ranks of the opposition instead. “Soon the people will see many members from the opposition expressing their confidence in PTI policies,” he claimed.

He said that government has taken very hard decisions to save Pakistan from bankruptcy and that was why the inflation rate had increased “but now Pakistan is heading towards economic growth. The government is trying to stabilize economy through systematic policies as a result of which the rate of rupee against dollar has increased. The government is also trying its level best to increase exports to stabilize its economy.”

About the attack on Lahore PIC by the lawyers, the defence minister said that it was a provincial matter and it was up to the government of Punjab to take action against those responsible. However, he added that Prime Minister Imran Khan was in constant touch with CM Buzdar and soon action would be taken against the culprits.