Says permanent appointment should be made without waiting for electoral reforms’
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday rejected the application filed by Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah, which had sought another three months for the appointment of a permanent chief election commissioner (CEC).
The court directed the government to complete its consultations and ensure the resolution of the issue by November 13.
A three member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, also rejected the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) request seeking six to nine months time to carry out delimitation of constituencies.
During the hearing the court said that the post of CEC has been lying vacant since August 2013 and a Supreme Court judge had been serving as the acting CEC for more than a year.
The failure to appoint a permanent CEC had not only affected the functioning of the election commission but the judiciary as well, the bench further said adding that, the institution required a permanent head who could formulate policies.
Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan told the court that the situation inside and outside the Parliament had remained uncertain since the past two months.
Chief Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk asked Advocate Ahsan about when the committee for election reforms was constituted.
Senator Aitzaz Ahsan replied that the committee was formed recently and needed at least three months to catty out its work.
The chief justice replied that as per the Constitution, consultations between two individuals was the requirement and added that the Constitution should be adhered to.
Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt told the court that no instructions had been received to seek more time for holding consultations over the issue.
Senior PPP leader, Aitzaz Ahsan said that “We do not want anyone to point fingers over the appointment.”
Chief Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk said that the permanent CEC should be appointed without waiting for the electoral reforms.
During Thursday’s hearing, the Election Commission of Pakistan requested the court to grant six to nine months time to carry out delimitation of constituencies in Sindh and Punjab provinces.
ECP Secretary Ishtiak Ahmad Khan said that the election commission had to carry out many steps which included the preparation of election rolls in light if the laws for carrying out delimitation of constituencies of the local government. The request was rejected by the court.
Soon after the apex court’s directive, Mr Shah had said in a statement that the appointment process should be withheld till the parliamentary committee on electoral reforms finalised its recommendations. He said he would inform the court about the reasons for delay in the CEC appointment. Agencies