ISLMABAD, July 9: In a landmark decision, the Parliamentary Committee on Appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and Members of the Election Commission of Pakistan unanimously approved on Monday the name of Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim for the prestigious CEC office which has been vacant since March.
He will be the 24th person to occupy the post, after 12 permanent and 11 acting CECs.
Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, a senior judge of the Supreme Court, was named acting CEC by Chief Justice Ifrtikhar Muhammad Chaudhry after the retirement of Justice (retd) Hamid Ali Mirza on March 23.
With the appointment of the new CEC, the Election Commission has been completed as its four members from the provinces have already been appointed on the recommendation of the parliamentary committee.
According to the procedure, the name of Justice Ebrahim will be forwarded by the committee to the prime minister who will send a summary seeking his appointment to the president.
President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan welcomed the consensus over the name of the CEC which, they said, would go a long way in holding free and fair polls and also fulfil one of the objectives of the Charter of Democracy.
Federal Minister Syed Khursheed Ahmad Shah presided over the committee meeting which took the decision.
Justice (retd) Ebrahim was not available for comments.
The issue of CEC’s appointment had been lingering for quite some time with the government and the opposition sticking to their panels of three names and the committee failing to develop consensus on a name.
The government had suggested the names of Munir A. Sheikh, Amirul Mulk and Roshan Ali Raisani and the name of Justice (retd) Ebrahim was in the panel proposed by the PML-N, along with acting CEC Shakirullah Jan and Nasir Aslam Zahid.
After considering the nomination forwarded by the prime minister and the leader of opposition in the National Assembly, the committee unanimously confirmed the name of Justice Ebrahim.
His name was proposed by Senator Islamuddin Sheikh of the PPP and seconded by Senator Raja Zafarul Haq of the PML-N and supported by all members of the committee.
Khursheed Shah said the government was determined to set up an independent Election Commission which would ensure fair and free elections.
He said the government also had a firm resolve to consult the opposition on all issues of national importance.
Senators Islamuddin Sheikh, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Raja Zafarul Haq and Haji Muhammad Adeel and MNAs Dr Muhammad Farooq Sattar, Chaudhry Ghias Ahmad Mela and Lt-Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch attended the meeting.
Chaudhry Nisar said he had included Justice (retd) Ebrahim’s name in his panel after holding consultation with all opposition parties. The new CEC has no political affiliation and he is a man of integrity, honesty and of commitment to democracy and Pakistan.
Syed Khursheed Shah said the PPP had made history by accepting the name proposed by the opposition and also fulfilled the dream of the late Benazir Bhutto to implement the Charter of Democracy.