4 new ECP members to be appointed today

First woman likely to make entry into commission

Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad—A twelve Parliamentary Committee on appointment of ECP members headed by Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid is all set to finalize the names of four members of the commission today after both the government and the opposition failed to reach consensus on the names for the members despite several rounds of meetings.
The opposition and the government have sent separate lists of 12 names each to the parliamentary committee via the speaker for appointment of four suitable persons to the vacant posts of the commission.
According to sources, both sides had a consensus on a few names but not all names. There may be a difference in order of the priority on both the lists but one name for each province is common, a highly informed source said.
The common names comprised the name of a woman who would make a history by becoming the member of the ECP. According to sources a major political party had suggested that a woman should get representation at the decision-making level in the ECP
Another source said that the woman member is likely to be picked up from the province of Sindh, adding the woman is a a retired senior bureaucrat who had the distinction of being the first and only secretary defense.
The sources said soon after the finalization of the names, the government will issue notification of appointment of the members by Monday evening.
Four members of the ECP retired on June 10. Under the law, new members are to be appointed within 45 days of the vacancy, which in this case will end on July 25.
Articles 213 and 218 of the Constitution outline the process of the appointment of the chief election commissioner (CEC) and members of the ECP, respectively.
The prime minister in consultation with the opposition leader is required to forward three names for appointment to each vacant post to a parliamentary committee for hearing and confirmation of any one person. In case there is no consensus between the prime minister and the opposition leader, they forward separate lists to the committee for consideration and confirmation of any one individual.
President Mamnoon Hussain approved the 22nd Constitution Amendment, altering the eligibility criteria for these appointments, days before the retirement of four ECP members last month.
Under the new rules, civil servants and technocrats are eligible for appointment as the CEC and members of the ECP in addition to serving or retired judges of apex courts. As a one-time exercise, two members of the ECP would retire after two-and-a-half years while the other two after two years.
The ECP since the retirement of its four members became dysfunctional and schedules for some by-elections have been postponed. Many important hearings, including those about disqualification references against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members and the foreign funding case against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, have been postponed till the appointment of new ECP members.

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