SC orders appointment of new CEC by Nov 13

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday, while rejecting an extension request by Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah, ordered the government to appoint the new chief election commissioner by November 13.

The apex court had already issued an order pertaining to the appointment of new chief election commissioner after which the Opposition Leader had requested the court to extend the deadline.

During today’s proceedings, Shah’s lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan contended that the circumstances remained uncertain in and outside the parliament in the past two months, however, the court rejected the request to extend the deadline and ordered the government to appoint the new CEC in two weeks.

Chief Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk remarked that the position has been vacant since August 2013 and told that the court will withdraw its judge Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali as CEC after November 13. Therefore, the government was instructed to hire new CEC before the electoral reforms. He stated that the institution requires a commissioner on permanent basis in order to formulate a consistent policy.

It may be mentioned that a senior SC judge discharges the responsibilities as acting CEC in case the position falls vacant and currently, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali is the acting Chief Election Commissioner.

The SC on October 14 gave the federal government two weeks to appoint a permanent CEC and the deadline expired on October 28.