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Event Title: Committee on Parliamentary Affairs Regrets Deadlock on Appointment of Members of Election Commission of Pakistan

Event Date: 2019-10-04

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.  The Committee regretted lack of consensus on an important issue such as this and agreed that since the matter is subjudice, after the decision of the Islamabad High Court, the only way forward was an amendment in the Constitution through a joint session of Parliament.     In present circumstances most of the members of the Committee regarded it as violation of the Constitution and appreciated the Chief Election Commissioner for showing a bold stance.  The Secretary Election Commission endorsed the point of view of the Chief Election Commissioner and clearly expressed that the Institution of the Chief Election Commission is a constitutional body and such gaps are no less than violation of the Constitution. In these conditions the Election Commission being incomplete 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 Lt. General Abdul Qayyum HI (M) Retd, Senator Taj Muhammad Afridi and senior officers from the Ministry for Parliamentary Affairs along with all concerned. 


The Committee was briefed by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs on the report regarding low percentage of cases received from Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa in Prime Minister’s Public Affairs and Grievances Wing.  It was informed that Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs visited 8 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Quetta.  During the visits the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs conducted meetings with officers of Provincial as well as Federal Organization. This process sensitized officers on the importance of redressal of public grievances.  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. 


Discussing promulgation of Ordinances by the President of Pakistan in terms of Article-89 of the Constitution of Pakistan the Committee took serious notice this practice and stressed the need to curb it.  Chairperson Committee, Senator Sassui Palijo said that such practice is detriment to the spirit of democracy and as a matter of policy it must be determined that Parliament is regarded 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.  It was recommended that a study must be conducted to examine the use of Article 89 in various tenures after the passing of the 18th Amendment. 


The Foreign Private Investment (Amendment) Bill, 2018 and the Board of Investment (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was on the recommendation of members was referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue.  The Question regarding core responsibilities and jurisdiction of Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) asked by Senator Chaudhary Tanvir Khan in Senate sitting held on 28th August, 2018 and 17th July, 2019 was disposed off.