ECP: Appointment of two members ?
THE issue of appointment of ECP members from Sindh and Balochistancouldn’t be resolved earlier for at least of one year though the ECP members are to be appointed within 45 days of their appointment as per law.
Under the Constitution the ECP compromises Chief Election Commissioner and four members one from each province.
The Election Commission of Pakistan may remain incomplete for indefinite period as its members from Punjab and KP are set to retire on 26 July with no signs in sight for their replacements.
Fears of yet another dead lock between the pm and the opposition on the selection of the successors of retiring ECP members from Punjab and KP loom large with no signs of the constitutionally required consultation s between two sides as per article 2013, 2014 and 2017
tion, the PM is required to intimate consultations with the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly for jointly recommending a panel of three consensus nominees per vacancy for confirmation of one of them by a Parliamentary Committee.
In case of there’s no agreement the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader are supposed to separately send three names each to the Committee having equal representation from the government and the Opposition Benches.
The law amendments that the ECP position should stay vacant for more than 45 days. But past experience shows that the issue of new appointments may linger for more than one year.
The failure of politicians to fulfil constitutional responsibilities because of their inability to rise above parochial positions speaks volumes for deepening political polarisation in the country.
It’s time that politicians learnt from their past mistakes and started to engage with one another on national and constitutional matters as is the case in other democracies. The onus of initiating consultations with the opposition is on the prime minister.
It is the prime who will have to take much of the responsibility if there is delay in the appointment of members of Election Commission of Pakistan.
In the recent past for example, people of Pakistan have seen the ECP becoming virtually non functional because the government wouldn’t engage with the opposition on filling the vacancies.
The appointment of the ECP members from Sindh and Balochistan took more than a year because the prime minister was not willing to engage with the opposition leader.
The government also unsuccessfully tried to bypass the constitutional mechanism for the appointment of the two members of ECP.
However, this system which exclusively focuses on resolving public grievances at the grass roots level was neither preferred by the previous government nor its successor PTI, as they didn’t release any financial packages for Islamabad.
On the other side unfortunately looms over the fate of the upcoming Local Government elections in Islamabad as the Interior Ministry has withdrawn a letter, in which it had requested for delimitation of 50 Union Councils.
It’s relevant to note here that the last Local Government elections were held in Islamabad in November 2015 on the direction of Supreme Court, as the Federal Government at that time adopted delaying tactics in this regard. Following the election, polls for the post of May and deputy mayors were held in March 2016.
In spite of government reluctant the Election Commission of Pakistan started the delimitation process, another letter was issued by the ministry dated 06 July in which it withdrew the earlier letter .Hence forth, the Election Commission could not continue the ongoing delimitation process.
—The writer is former Federal Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan and currently Chairman National Democratic Foundation.