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Shafqat Mehmood to head panel tasked with drafting ToRs for parliamentary body on 2018 polls

Updated November 09, 2018

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Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood. — DawnNewsTV/File
Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood. — DawnNewsTV/File

Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood will head a sub-committee tasked with framing the terms of reference (ToR) for a special parliamentary committee constituted by the National Assembly speaker to probe allegations of rigging in the 2018 general elections.

The decision was taken during the second meeting of the “Parliamentary Committee on the General Elections 2018”, presided over by its chairman, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak.

Khattak recommended the name of Mehmood as the convener of the sub-committee, which was agreed to by the members of the panel.

The committee also decided upon the names of other members of the sub-committee. Besides Mehmood, the other lawmakers who will represent the ruling coalition in the sub-committee include Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif of MQM-P and Sarfaraz Bugti of BAP. The opposition members in the panel will be PML-N's Rana Sanaullah, PPP's Naveed Qamar, Hasil Bizenjo of the National Party and Maulana Wasay of MMA.

The eight-member sub-committee will submit its recommendations to the main committee within two weeks.

Speaking to the media after the meeting, Khattak said the sub-committee will frame the ToRs within 14 days and that this deadline could be extended if needed.

He said the committee will summon representatives of whichever institution it considers necessary and decide the matter as per its authority.

PML-N's Rana Sanaullah said it was not difficult to prove rigging in the 2018 elections and that his party will present all proofs in this regard before the committee.

Rehman Malik, of the PPP, questioned whether the parliamentary committee has the powers of merely a standing committee, which can only issue recommendations and not order implementation of decisions.

He also suggested that the committee's report should be presented in a joint session of the parliament as the probe body is of a bicameral nature.

NA Spea­ker Asad Qaiser had on October 16 constituted the 30-member bipartisan and bicameral parliamentary com­mittee to probe charges of rigging in the July 25 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.

Today's session of the committee was attended by 16 out of its total 30 members, including 8 members from the treasury and as many from the opposition.