ISLAMABAD: Opposition parties on Wednesday deliberated on the names proposed by the government for appointment as members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), but failed to finalise their own list of the probables.
Talking to reporters outside the Parliament House after presiding over a meeting of the representatives of all opposition parties, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khurshid Ahmed Shah said they had discussed in detail the names proposed by the government. He said he would soon meet Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and inform him about the opposition’s names for appointment as ECP members.
Despite repeated questions, Mr Shah refused to disclose the names that had come under discussion during the meeting.
Sources told Dawn that besides the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), some other opposition parties also proposed their own names during the meeting.
The opposition members, according to the sources, sought more time from Mr Shah for consultation with their respective party leadership on the names discussed during the meeting.
Mr Shah told the reporters that there was no need for holding another meeting on the issue and the members of the opposition parties would personally inform him about their final decision.
Those who attended the meeting included PTI’s vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Ghulam Ahmed Bilour of the Awami National Party (ANP), Sahibzada Tariqullah of Jamaat-i-Islami and Sheikh Rashid Ahmed of the Awami Muslim League (AML).
Mr Shah stressed that an independent and powerful Election Commission was a must for the country’s better future because the country had suffered a lot due to disputed elections in the past.
The PPP leader said the opposition wanted to bring those people who had the ability to take decisions independently and expressed the hope that the government and the opposition would succeed in bringing such people who would ensure transparent and fair elections in the country.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the country could not afford to have more controversial elections, adding that the opposition parties had decided that any person who would present himself as a candidate for the office or who would make efforts to get the position should not be considered for the appointment.
Mr Qureshi said the PTI had convened a meeting of opposition parties in Islamabad on July 19 to discuss the issue of the Panama inquiry commission. “We will exchange views on possible parliamentary, legal and political options on the issue,” he added.
He claimed complete unity among the opposition ranks on the Panama issue and said that all efforts by the government to divide the opposition had failed. He said he had personally contacted the leaders of all opposition parties, including the ANP and the MQM, and they had all agreed to attend the meeting next week.
It may be recalled that Khurshid Shah had sought Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s intervention in resolving the political crisis created due to a deadlock in the parliamentary committee on the Panama commission.
Four ECP members retired on June 12 and the law requires appointment of their successors within 45 days of their retirement. July 27 is the constitutional deadline for the appointment of new members of the commission.
The prime minister, in consultation with the opposition leader, is required to forward three names for appointment to each vacant post of the ECP to a parliamentary committee for confirmation of any one person. In case there is no consensus between the prime minister and the opposition leader, they will forward separate lists to the committee for confirmation of any one individual.
This time the appointment of ECP members will be made under a new criteria approved by parliament that has done away with the restriction of them being retired judges.
Courtesy : Dawn News