Pakistan

ECP becomes non-functional as members retire

ECP

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has become practically non-functional after its all four members retired on June 12, while the process of appointment of new members still not in sight.

The outgoing four members of the ECP had sworn in on June 13, 2011, and their five-year term comes to an end on June 12 (yesterday).

Under the constitution, the ECP comprises of the Chief Election Commissioner and four members – representing one to each province.

According to constitutional experts, by-elections to be held in the absence of ECP members will be questionable and the fate of cases pending in the ECP will also hang in the balance till the appointment of new members.

Parliament recently passed a law to change the eligibility criteria of the Chief Election Commissioner and ECP members. The law was recently signed by the President.

The parliamentary affairs ministry wrote a letter to the speaker of the National Assembly last month asking him to constitute a parliamentary committee for appointment of the election commission members, but it is yet to happen.

Under the procedure, the prime minister, in consultation with the opposition leader, is required to forward three names for appointment to each vacancy of the ECP to a parliamentary committee for hearing and confirmation of any one person for the post.

Moreover, a bill to give legal cover to the payment of salaries to outgoing ECP members, has also been in pending in the parliament for approval.

The ECP members provisionally drawing their salary since their appointment in June 2011.

According to reports an amount of Rs 410 million had been disbursed in salary and other perks of the four members of the ECP whose five-year term ended on June 12.

The matter has been referred by the chairman to the Senate Finance Committee with an order to submit an interim report.

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