Friday Dec 06, 2019
ISLAMABAD: Justice (retd) Altaf Ibrahim Qureshi was on Friday sworn in as the acting chief election commissioner (CEC).
Justice Qureshi, who is a senior member of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from Punjab, takes over from Justice (r) Sardar Mohammad Raza, whose tenure ended on December 5.
The ECP has been rendered dysfunctional as it currently has only two members out of five, whereas under the law, there should be at least three members on the bench to hear cases.
A day earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan had recommended the names of Fazal Abbas, Babar Yaqoob and Arif Khan for the post of CEC.
The approval from the prime minister came on the last day of Justice (retd) Raza's tenure and after a petition filed by the opposition for the Supreme Court to intervene in the matter landed in court.
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif had instead proposed the names of Nasir Mehmood Khosa, Jalil Abbas Jillani and Ikhlaq Ahmed Tarar for the post of CEC.
Shehbaz has also proposed the names of Nisar Durrani, Justice (retd) Abdul Rasul Memon and Aurangzeb Haq as Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) member from Sindh.
From Balochistan, he has recommended the names of lawyer Shah Mohammad Jatoi, former advocate general Mohammad Rauf Atta and Raheela Durrani.
The government has proposed the names of Justice (retd) Sadiq Bhatti, Justice (retd) Noorul Haq Qureshi and Abdul Jabbar Qureshi for the post of the ECP member from Sindh. For Balochistan, the prime minister approved the names of Dr Faiz Kakar, Naveed Jan Baloch and Amanullah Baloch.
Earlier, a meeting of the bipartisan parliamentary panel tasked with the responsibility to finalise the ECP members had ended in a deadlock, with both sides unwilling to compromise.
Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, who spoke after the meeting, had insisted that "consensus was developing" on the appointments.
Mazari, who is chairing the committee, had described the meeting as "very good" and the talks as "positive". She had added the opposition and government are in agreement that the panel proposes the names of the CEC and members together.
The minister said a meeting will now be called next week to reach an agreement on names for the three posts.