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ISLAMABAD: The members of a special parliamentary committee, constituted by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser to probe allegations of rigging in the July 25 general elections, unanimously elected Defence Minister Pervez Khattak as its chairman on Wednesday.

As per understanding with the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Mr Khattak’s name was proposed by Ayaz Sadiq of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and seconded by Syed Naveed Qamar of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), according to an official handout issued by the NA Secretariat.

The chairman-elect asked the treasury and opposition benches to nominate eight members on a parity basis to appoint a sub-committee with a mandate to frame terms of reference for the committee.

The spea­ker had on Oct 16 constituted the 30-member bipartisan and bicameral parliamentary com­mittee to probe charges of rigging in the last general elections.

The “Parliamentary Committee on the General Elections 2018”, which had been formed on the demand of the opposition parties, comprises 10 members from the Senate and 20 from the National Assembly.

As per an agreement between the government and the opposition parties, the committee comprises equal number of members from the treasury and opposition benches and its chairman was to be nominated by the prime minister.

The motion allowing the speaker to constitute the special committee in consultation with Prime Minister Imran Khan and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif had been moved in the assembly by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan.

No time frame has been set for the committee for finalising its fact-finding report, though the two sides have agreed that the committee “will submit a report within such time as is agreeable” by its members.

The treasury members belonging to the PTI in the committee are Pervez Khattak, Infor­mation Minister Fawad Chau­dhry, Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood, Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari, Science and Technology Minister Azam Swati, MNA Malik Amir Dogar and Senator Nauman Wazir.

Other members from the ruling coalition are Minister for Housing and Works Tariq Bashir Cheema (PML-Q), Akhtar Mengal (BNP-M), Khalid Magsi and Sarfraz Bugti (BAP), Mohammad Ali Saif and Aminul Haq (MQM-P), Ghous Bux Mahar (GDA) and Hidayatullah (Fata).

The opposition members in the committee are former speaker Ayaz Sadiq, former deputy speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Rana Tanveer Hussain, Rana Sanaullah, senators Javed Abbasi and Asad Junejo of the PML-N; Raja Pervez Ashraf, Khursheed Shah, Naveed Qamar and Rehman Malik of the PPP; Abdul Wasay and Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri of the MMA; Usman Kakar of the PkMAP and Amir Haider Hoti of the ANP.

Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2018