IHC tasks Parliament to settle ECP members' appointment issue

03:38 PM | 14 Oct, 2019
IHC tasks Parliament to settle ECP members' appointment issue
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ISLAMABAD – The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday ordered the Parliament to end deadlock over the matter of appointment of two new Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) members.

A single-member bench headed by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard a set of petitions filed against the order of the federal government to appoint Sindh and Balochistan members of the election body.

Earlier this year, the parliamentary affairs ministry had notified the appointment of Khalid Mehmood Siddiqui and Munir Ahmed Kakar as ECP members following an approval by President Arif Alvi.

However, Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Raza Khan refused to administer oath from the two new members, saying they were not appointed in accordance with Articles 213 and 214 of the constitution.

After the conflict erupted, the high court admitted a petition filed by Barrister Jahangir Khan Jadoon against the government’s decision.

During the hearing, Justice Minallah said that the parliament should break the deadlock to make the ECP functional. He commented that the election body is almost non-functional due to this issue.

“Do you want the commission to become fully ineffective because the matter is also pending before the top court?” the Express Tribune quoted the judge as saying. He also asked why the federal government was not ending the deadlock.

Justice Minallah further wondered if the Parliament was incapable of resolving the matter, adding, “We believe it can undertake the task to decide on the matter.”

The high court directed National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani to make headway on the matter.

Rejecting government’s request to adjourn the hearing, the judge said that the NA speaker and Senate chairman should play their role to prevent ECP from becoming ineffective.