ISLAMABAD -  As was expected, the government has once again failed to meet the Supreme Court’s third consecutive deadline, November 24, for the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) as no fresh contact between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Leader of Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah has been made so far.

Sources said that Attorney General of Pakistan (AG), listing reasons behind failure in complying the court orders, would once again seek more time from the court for the CEC appointment.

The sources said that Khursheed, who is abroad these days, would return on 26th of this month, two days after the lapse of the court’s fresh deadline for the CEC appointment. However, on November 25 the PM would leave for Kathmandu to attend the SAARC summit starting from November 26.

After the initial consultation on the subject between Nawaz and Khursheed and then refusal of first Justice (retd) Rana Baghwandas and then Justice (retd) Tasadaq Hussain Jillani to be the candidate for the slot the whole exercise dashed down as almost majority of the parties in government and opposition had endorsed their candidature.

Later, for fresh consultations, the PM had mandated Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to carry on the exercise with Khursheed on the matter and put up some new names in the list so that the parliamentary parties in government and opposition could select the name of their choice for the CEC post.

As per the Constitution, only Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition are the main consultees in the process for installing CEC. But as a goodwill gesture, both Nawaz and Khursheed had engaged other parliamentary parties in the process to have a broader consensus on the issue.

The sources said that Ishaq Dar had phoned Khursheed, who is in UK right now, but could not make any headway on the subject, thus again leaving the matter to the disposal of both the PM and the Leader of Opposition.

According to the sources, the PM did not opt to phone Khursheed, as he had wanted to have the input of other political forces on the subject as well. The PM won’t take the risk of finalising some candidate who could not win the approval of other parliamentary parties, especially when PTI is on agitation and can make issue out of the move, the sources added.

It would be the breach of the third deadline by the PM and Leader of Opposition if they fail to install the new CEC November 24. The court’s earlier deadlines were October 28 and November 13 on the subject with the court warning to withdraw its judge working as Acting CEC in case of non-compliance. However, on both the previous occasions the court had accepted the government’s plea and granted more time for the accomplishment of this constitutional obligation.

Legal wizards in the government said that the regime should inform the court about the reasons of non-compliance and request for granting more time to accomplish the task.

A source in the government said that in the available names Justice (retd) Tariq Pervaiz stands a fare chance to become the consensus name for CEC but in case of further delay some new faces would come in to the list. Then the consultation process would once again include other political parties in the Parliament as well.

It is pertinent to mention here that initially Khursheed Shah had proposed the names of Justice (retd) Ajmal Mian and Justice (retd) Tariq Pervaiz while the PM had proposed the names of Justice (retd) Rana Baghwandas, Justice (retd) Tasaddaq Hussain Jillani and Justice (retd) Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui. The name of Justice (retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid also figured in the consultation process as opposition parties PTI and MQM had backed his candidature.

The names of Justice Ajmal was not acceptable to the government while the Leader of Opposition had rejected the candidature of Justice (retd) Sadeeduzzaman Siddiqui while Justice (retd) Baghwandas and Justice (retd) Tasaddaq Hussain Jillani had excused to be the candidates for the slot.