Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – While a parliamentary committee is set to reach an agreement on the appointment of the members of the Elec­tion Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday, sources privy to talks between the government and opposition have revealed that at least one woman will be among the four new ECP members for the first time in Pakistan’s history.

Earlier, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had proposed the inclusion of one woman in the ECP.

Interestingly, the two lists prepared by the opposition and government, comprising of 12 names each, have one name in common for each province, sources said.

“The name of a woman is also among the four names which are found in the both lists,” another source told Dawn.

He further added that the woman was a retired senior bureaucrat who also had a distinction of being Pakistan’s first and only secretary defense.

According to information available with Daily Pakistan Global, the proposed female ECP member is likely to be Nargis Sethi, who retired as Water and Power Secretary in December 2014 and was the country’s only female Defense Secretary. She is currently working as a member at the Federal Public Service Commission of Pakistan.

Nargis Sethi has also served as Principal Secretary to former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani as well as in the Federal Cabinet. During the last PPP government, she was dubbed as the most powerful woman of Pakistan by all major newspapers of the country.

The constitutional deadline for appointment of the members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) expires on July 25 (Monday). The four outgoing ECP members retired on June 12 and according to the Constitution of Pakistan, their vacant positions must be filled within 45 days.

Talking to newsmen after a meeting in Islamabad on Thursday, Leader of the Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar both conceded that the government and opposition had reached a deadlock on the names of three members. They also informed media that they were in agreement on one name.

Dar said that the 12 names submitted separately by the opposition and the government were being sent to parliamentary committee. He also expressed hope that the names would be finalized within the deadline of 45 days.