LAHORE - There are bright prospects that the name of former judge of the Supreme Court, Tariq Pervez Khan, will be finalised for the appointment of chief election commissioner after two main consensus figures have refused to accept the office while there are reservations about the names of others.

Reliable sources in the official quarters say the name of former Peshawar High Court chief justice who was later elevated to the Supreme Court is gaining weight both on the government and the Opposition side. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Leader of Opposition Khursheed Shah are out of the country at the moment, but names for this slot are being considered through Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, the sources said, adding Dar is in contact with the parliamentary parties and is discussing the matter with the leader of the opposition on behalf of the PM.

The sources say among the present names Justice Tariq commands acceptance from all sides although voices have begun to occur from political quarters for also considering the names in addition to former judges. However, chances of picking someone other than judiciary appear bleak, given the shortage of time and the fact that the Supreme Court full bench has set the deadline of December 5 to appoint a CEC on regular basis.

Previously, the court had twice allowed time to the government to effect the appointment of a regular CEC that had been pending since June 2013 when Justice Fakharuddin Ahmad had quit the office amid wide-range charges of rigging in the May elections. Headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Nasirul Mulk, the apex court bench on October 28 had asked the federation to appoint a regular CEC by November 13, but the government again sought time which was allowed till November 24 with positive direction to do the needful. The court had warned the government of recalling the acting CEC, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali.

Previously, a complete consensus by the political parties from both divide had surfaced on the name of former judge of the Supreme Court, Rana Baghwandas, but he refused to accept the slot, giving his personal reasons. Next was former Chief Justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jilani who had also worked as acting CEC. He was potentially named for the slot though some opposition parties had agreed on his nomination with a heavy heart. Justice Jilani also refused to accept the offer. The rest in line, former Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid, Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui and Ajmal Mian, despite their unblemished character and professional integrity, failed to command consensus from the two sides due to either political tilt or on the ground of decisions given by them against the PPP leaders.

Now focus is on the name of Tariq Pervez Khan who is also known for his professional acumen and uprightness. He has also served as acting KP governor. Sources say at the moment both the sides have inclination towards Justice Tariq, but his name will be finalised formally by the prime minister and the leader of the opposition, most likely within this month.

The sources say his name is likely to be placed before the political parties from both the sides to secure a broad-based consensus and make the commission’s working acceptable to all. They say in case no consensus takes place at the level of these two top leaders, the final decision would come through a joint parliamentary committee whose names will be proposed by the PM and the opposition leader. They say chances are bright that the name of a regular CEC would be finalised at the primary forum.