ISLAMABAD - The Parliamentary Committee on the appointment of members of the ECP may not be able to finalise appointment of members from the smaller provinces - Sindh and Balochistan - in its third meeting scheduled to be held on Wednesday.

The members from Sindh and Balochistan have not been appointed for the last five months due to disagreement between Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and Leader of House in the National Assembly Imran Khan.

The Parliamentary Committee on the appointment of members of the ECP in its two meetings held discussions to consider the nomination for appointment of members from smaller provinces. Members from both govt and opposition sides have shared the profiles of their suggested names to deliberate in the upcoming meetings.

Sources said that the opposition side will force the government to appoint names shared from their side by Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif. The opposition leader 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. They will not accept the members proposed by the government side around four months before. Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a written communication, had suggested 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.  Political and constitutional experts said the committee has equal strength of government and opposition members. They said that the consensus on appointment of members hardly would be decided in the meeting and matter might be referred to the Supreme Court.

Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif could not decide the names of members of the ECP from Sindh and Balochistan in three months due to difference of opinion.

Like previous practice, opposition leader and leader of the house had remained engaged in written communication to sort out the matter regarding the appointment of members.

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.

The government 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.” Under the prescribed rules and procedures (Articles 213 and 218 of the Constitution), “The PM in consultation with the Opposition leader forwards three names for the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner or a Commission (ECP) member to a Parliamentary Committee for hearing and confirmation of one name.”