IHC suspends presidential notification of ECP members’ appointment

IHC gives govt, opposition 10 days to end deadlock on ECP members' appointment

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday suspended the presidential notification of the appointment of two new members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) till the next hearing of the case on Dec. 5.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah presided over the hearing of the case, and issued the order on an application filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawyer Jahangir Khan Jadoon.
The court remarked that the matter should be resolved in the parliament. “We are fully confident on the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chariman of the Senate […] parliament’s dignity is a priority for us.” “The elected representatives in the parliament should make such decisions themselves.”
A lawyer told the court that three meetings had been held to resolve the issue but no breakthrough could be achieved due to intense ongoing political rifts amongst parties.
“The matter you are referring to, should have also be resolved in the parliament,” the court responded, while asking how much more time do the NA and the Chariman of the Senate would require. To this, the lawyer sought for four more weeks.
Justice Minallah stated that the retirement of the chief election commissioner is also near and so the issue should be resolved as soon as possible. “Resolve the issue before Dec.7 and inform the court,” he said.
On Oct 14, the court had ordered to transfer the case of appointment of two members of the ECP to the parliament.
The court had asked the Speaker of the House and the Chairman to prevent the ECP from getting ‘non-functional’. The court further remarked that the detailed judgment would be issued soon.
“Can’t the parliament resolve even such a small matter? […] Does the federal government still want to defend the persisting deadlock?” the judge had asked, adding that the court has its confidence on the parliament that it would resolve the issue.
“Constitutional institutions should not be made non-functional, does the government want this to happen?” he had further questioned, adding that the matter pertains to public interest.
“Election commission has almost become inactive,” he had mentioned, while asking could a hearing on the case be postponed only because it was pending in the Supreme Court.
In the courtroom, the additional Attorney General had asked for the court’s permission to acquire instructions from the government on the matter.
In the previous hearing, the court was asked to postpone the hearing of petitions filed against the appointment of two ECP members until the apex court decides a plea filed in connection with the matter.

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