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Govt and Opposition finalised 3 names for the appointment of CEC

04 December, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: The government and opposition on Wednesday finalised three names for the appointment of the new chief election commissioner (CEC).

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) hinted its acceptance of any of the three candidates. The PTI has, however, demanded reforms in the election commission, including strengthening of the office of CEC which it thinks has got minimal authority in the presence of powerful members nominated by provinces. Parliamentary committee meeting, meanwhile, has also been summoned today (Thursday) to discuss the three shortlisted names out of the four earlier discussed between government and opposition.

Justice (r) Sardar Raza Khan, Justice (r) Tariq Pervez, Shakirullah Jan and Justice (r) Tanveer Ahmed, and Justice (r) Ajmal Mian's names are being actively discussed for the slot . Federal Minister Finance Ishaq Dar and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah met at the Parliament House in Islamabad on Wednesday for consultation over the appointment of fresh chief election commissioner (CEC). The Opposition Leader also contacted Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Farooq Sattar on the phone to discuss the probable names for the CEC.

The chosen name would be sent to the parliamentary committee for final approval after which the committee would finalize a name in tomorrow's session. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said that names of three judges have been shortlisted for the post of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC). He was speaking to media outside the Parliament House along with Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah. He said that he will forward the names of the three judges to National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq today.

After the failure of the government and the opposition to reach a consensus on a new CEC, the three names shortlisted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, along with Ishaq Dar and Shah, will be forwarded to a parliamentary committee for the final decision. Khurshid shah said we have short listed three names including Justice (retd) Sardar Mohammad Raza, Justice (retd) Tariq Pervez and Justice (retd) Tanvir Ahmed Khan while a 12-member parliamentary committee will decide one name for the CEC slot, he said.

Shah said after the consultation with leaders of all parliamentary parties and came to an agreement on three names, and I am hopeful that the parliamentary committee will succeed in finalizing the name of the new CEC by Thursday evening, he added. He added that the issue pertaining to the appointment of a new CEC will be resolved before December 5 as per the directives of the Supreme Court. A 12-member parliamentary committee, headed by Senator Rafiq Rajwana, has equal representation from the treasury and opposition benches, while under the rules, the nomination has to be endorsed by a two-third majority. The 12 member committee comprises six senators and six MNA's including Senator Rafique Rajwana, Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar, Muhammad Junaid Anwar Chaudhry, Muhammad Arshad Khan Leghari, Muhammad Ayaz Soomro, Shazia Marri, Dr Farooq Sattar, Dr Darshan, Haji Muhammad Adeel, Islamuddin Shaikh, MNA Shehryar Afridi and Sardar Muhamamd Yaqoob Nasir.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has already called back the services of Justice Zaheer Jamali as the acting CEC with effect from December 5. Similarly, following the warning by the Supreme Court, the prime minister and opposition leader have taken into consideration some former Supreme Court judges' names for the CEC's slot, including that of former CJP Justice (r) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, Justice (r) Rana Bhagwandas and Justice (r) Tariq Parvez, but could not finalize any name mainly due to strong opposition by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Jillani and Bhagwandas refused to accept the CEC's position, whereas Parvez was not short-listed for further consultations.

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