ISLAMABAD - Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday disposed of petitions seeking the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and two Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) members. A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of three petitions filed by two lawmakers including Senator Mohammad Javed Abbasi, Member National Assembly (MNA) Dr Nisar Ahmed Cheema and Barrister Jahangir Khan Jadoon issued the direction.The federal government, in its reply, informed the IHC bench that government and the opposition have agreed over the names of the CEC and two members of the election commission. While the proceedings were going on a petitioner noted that credit goes to the court for these appointments. IHC Chief Justice promptly replied that credit goes to the people of Pakistan. He remarked that the parliament is a supreme state institution, which has representatives of the people and a strong parliament would make Pakistan strong. Earlier, the IHC bench had suspended a presidential notification of the appointment of two Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) members and directed that the matter be solved by the Parliament. The petitioners including Senator Mohammad Javed Abbasi and Member National Assembly (MNA) Dr Nisar Ahmed Cheema were also members of the parliamentary committee that was to recommend names of ECP members. It was August 22 when President Arif Alvi appointed Khalid Mehmood Siddiqui from Sindh and Munir Ahmed Kakar from Balochistan against the two ECP positions, which had fallen vacant after completion of the terms of Abdul Ghaffar Soomro and retired Justice Shakeel Baloch from the respective provinces. The lawmakers challenged the notification issued by the President for the appointment of Siddiqui and Kakar as ECP members from Sindh and Balochistan, respectively.

In their petitions, they argued before the court that since Prime Minister Imran Khan and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif had failed to develop consensus on the names of ECP members, the parliamentary committee on the appointment of the chief election commissioner and ECP members was deliberating upon the names for vacant positions in the ECP.

According to the petitions, it was a surprise for the lawmakers that instead of following the procedure laid down by the constitution and the superior courts, President Alvi had made the appointments through his discretionary powers.

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