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Judiciary being included in parliamentary affairs: CJ IHC on ECP appointments

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has resumed the hearing of a petition challenging the appointment of the members of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), ARY News reported on Thursday.

The petition had been filed by a Member of National Assembly (MNA) Murtaza Javed Abbasi from Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and Dr Nisar Cheema in the high court which led to the suspension of the notification for ECP members’ appointments on the seats of Sindh and Balochistan in the previous hearing.

Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Athar Minallah remarked, “The role of Senate chairman and the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA) is praiseworthy. The legislation is with the parliament but the judiciary is being included in the parliamentary affairs.”

Read: IHC suspends presidential appointment of two ECP members

“Parliament has been elected by the nationals. Opposition parties have moved to the Supreme Court (SC) despite all things are going in the right direction. You should resolve issues through the parliament. Several matters had not dealt rightfully in past. Everyone has a responsibility and a duty to perform.”

“Why do we use to remember Nelson Mandela for good as he had pardoned everyone. Judiciary has a responsibility to remove legal flaws and the issue could be resolved within one week.”

The secretary pleaded the court to give 10 days for resolving the matter of ECP appointments. To this, NA lawmaker Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha agreed for giving the institution 10 days. Ranjha argued that the premier is unserious for the resolution of issues nor agree to sit with the opposition for consultations.

Read: Govt to consult opposition on ECP members’ appointment: NA speaker

“Chief election commissioner (CEC) is a constitutional position. Opposition and ruling side should be on the same page in national interests. It is recommended to amend character instead of amending the Constitution.” remarked Justice Minallah.

Later, the high court adjourned the hearing till December 17.

Background

The matter is lingering on since the retirement of ECP members Abdul Ghaffar Soomro from Sindh and retired Justice Shakeel Baloch from Balochistan in January. Under the law, their replacements were to be appointed within 45 days.

A consultation between the prime minister and the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly is required for the appointment of the ECP members.

After failure of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif to reach a consensus on the names, the matter was referred to a bi-partisan parliamentary committee, but it also failed to reach a consensus.

After which, the president exercising his powers appointed Khalid Mehmood Siddiqui from Sindh and Munir Ahmed Kakar from Balochistan on Aug 22 against two vacant positions.

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