WEB DESK: The government and the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) have succeeded in appointing the four Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) members of their choice.
Whether Ishaq Dar, the Prime Minister’s negotiator, or Khursheed Shah colluded to appoint members of their choice for the ECP or not is not relevant as they did not violate the constitution or the law of the land, said a PPP leader on condition of anonymity. He however acknowledged that the only thing Khursheed Shah can be accused of is skilfully duping his opposition colleagues as he had the moral responsibility to take all the opposition parties on board.
“The government and Leader of Opposition Khursheed Shah had mutually decided all the four names without taking other opposition parties on board,” said ANP Senator Muhammad Daud Khan Achakzai who was also a member of the Parliamentary Committee on appointment of the ECP members.
Achakzai also claimed that all the members of the committee were asked to vote in favour of the four whose candidacy was decided beforehand by the government and Khursheed Shah. “The majority of the members, including myself were not even aware of the four pre-selected candidates or their profiles and yet we were asked to vote in their favour,” he said.
He added that as 45 days were allowed before the ECP members could be appointed so the profile of each candidate should have been discussed in detail before making a final decision. Members of the parliamentary committee should have been given at least a week to go through profiles of the candidates and discuss the same with their respective parties to reach a consensus with other parties, he said.
Daud Khan Achakzai abstained from voting in the parliamentary committee while raising serious concerns on the procedure for the appointment of the ECP members. PTI has expressed similar concerns at the appointment of former justice Altaf Ibrahim Qureshi, chosen as ECP member Punjab, saying the government and Khursheed Shah did not take PTI on board with respect to his name.
A senior member of PTI told Business Recorder that the party’s vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi would formally inform the media about the PTI’s concerns next week. Qureshi is in the United States on a private visit and will return next week. “We don’t want to make the newly appointed ECP member for Punjab controversial, but we will make our concerns public,” he said.
Meanwhile, a PPP leader said Asif Ali Zardari was not happy with the performance of the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah and might replace him with another more vibrant member in the coming days. He said PPP was planning to give a tough time to the government on the issue of Panama papers and corruption in the parliament and outside the parliament, therefore he might deem it appropriate to appoint a more proactive member as leader of the opposition. “Names of different MNAs including Shazia Marri and Ijaz Jakhrani are under consideration for leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, but a final decision has yet to be made on it,” he said.