Pakistan

SC orders filling ECP vacancies before July 27

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday directed the government to fill the vacancies of the election commission members before July 27.

A bench of the apex court issued orders during suo moto hearing about vacant seats of the election commission members.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) became practically non-functional after its all four members retired on June 12 this year.

Secretary ECP informed the bench that under the constitution the members of the commission can be appointed till July 27th.

Additional Attorney General in his arguments said that under the constitution consultation with the opposition is essential for appointment of the members of the ECP. The consultation with the opposition could not happen as the prime minister was out of the country, he said.

“Why the process for the appointments not initiated earlier,” Chief Justice of Pakistan Anwar Zaheer Jamali asked the government lawyer.

“We have nothing to do about who is consulting to whom. We want the state affairs running according to the spirit of the constitution,” the chief justice said.

The five-year tenure of the four members of the ECP was ended on June 12, 2016.

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 also hang in the balance till the appointment of new members.

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.

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