ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has prepared draft rules governing methods and terms and conditions of its officers and staff to replace the rules framed in 1989 with the approval of the president, inviting objections and suggestions by Nov 5.

The draft rules have been made in pursuance of relevant provision of the Elections Act, under which an approval of the president was no more required. The 1989 rules had been framed with “Until Majlis-e-Shhora (Parliament) by law otherwise provides, the Election Commission may, with the approval of the President, make rules providing for the appointment by the Commissioner of the officers and staff to be employed in connection with the functions of election commission and their terms and conditions of employment”.

“Now when parliament has given the power to make rules to the commission, the conditional provision for president’s approval stands redundant,” a senior ECP official told Dawn.

Section 6 (2) of the Elections Act, 2017 reads: “The Commissioner shall exercise powers relating to the appointment of officers and staff to be employed in connection with the functions of the Commission and determine their terms and conditions of employment in accordance with the Rules.”

The official said that under Section 239 (1) of the Elections Act, the ECP might, by notification in the official Gazette and publication on its website, make rules for carrying out the purposes of this Act. Subsection 2 of the Section 239 reads: “The Commission shall make the Rules under sub-section (1) subject to prior publication and after hearing and deciding objections or suggestions filed within fifteen days of the publication.”

Under the proposed Election Commission (Officers and Staff) Rules, 2018, financial powers of the commissioner will include power to create posts; upgrade, downgrade or change the nomenclature of any post; sanction and incur expenditure on any item, including any allowance(s) from within approved budgetary allocation; and to re-appropriate funds from one head of account to another head of account within approved budgetary allocation.

Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2018

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