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Standing Committee Regrets Deadlock Over Appointment Of ECP Members

The Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs in its meeting held on Friday reviewed the matter of appointment of members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The committee regretted the lack of consensus on an important issue such as this and agreed that after the decision of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), the only way forward was an amendment in the constitution through a joint session of the parliament.

Most members of the committee regarded it as a violation of the constitution and appreciated the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) for his bold stance.

The ECP secretary endorsed CEC’s point of view and clearly expressed that the institution of the Chief Election Commission is a constitutional body and such gaps equate to a violation of the constitution. Under these circumstances, the ECP has been rendered helpless.

Chaired by Senator Sassui Palijo, the meeting was attended by Senator Abida Muhammad Azeem, Senator Brig (R) John Kenneth Williams, Senator Dr Sikandar Mandhro, Senator Muhammad Yousuf Badini, Senator Farooq Hamid Naek, Senator Anwar ul Haq Kakar, Senator Gian Chand, Senator Walid Iqbal, Senator Lieutenant General Abdul Qayyum HI (M) Retd, Senator Taj Muhammad Afridi and senior officers from the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs along with other officials concerned.

The committee was briefed by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs on a report regarding low percentage of cases being received from Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) by the Prime Minister’s Public Affairs and Grievances Wing.

It was informed that the state minister for parliamentary affairs visited eight districts of KP and Balochistan.  During the visits, the minister held meetings with officers of the provincial as well as the federal government. This process sensitised officers on the importance of addressing public grievances.

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The committee was of the opinion that visiting Quetta in Balochistan was not enough and directed the wing to visit multiple areas to ensure that public grievances are redressed at the earliest.

Discussing promulgation of ordinances by the president of Pakistan through Article 89 of the constitution, the committee took serious notice of this practice and stressed the need to curb it.

The Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs Chairperson Senator Sassui Palijo said that such practice is detrimental to the spirit of democracy and the parliament should be regarded as supreme.

The committee stressed that Article 89 can only be invoked in the case of an emergency situation in which the parliament ceases to operate. At any other time this is a violation of the constitution, they agreed.  It was recommended that a study must be conducted to examine the use of Article 89 after the passage of the 18th amendment.

The Foreign Private Investment (Amendment) Bill 2018 and the Board of Investment (Amendment) Bill 2018 was referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue on the recommendation of its members.

In relation to the core responsibilities and jurisdiction of Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA), the committee disposed of a question asked by Senator Chaudhary Tanvir Khan in Senate sitting held on 28th August, 2018 and 17th July, 2019.


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