ISLAMABAD: The parliamentary panel on poll rigging has decided to discuss its terms of reference (ToR) in a meeting scheduled for Jan 30.
The committee met here on Wednesday with Defence Minister Pervez Khatak in the chair. The opposition objected when Khatak presented the committee’s rules of business.
Former interior minister Rehman Malik and Syed Naveed Qamar criticised the chair for not providing copies of the rules in advance, observing that it would take time to read the rules. They were of the view that copies should have been provided one week before the meeting. The chairman accepted the opposition’s objection and adjourned the meeting to Jan 30.
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Former National Assembly speaker Ayaz Sadiq said the committee should work in accordance with rules. Syed Khurshid Shah and Rana Tanvir endorsed the observation.
The meeting discussed a petition filed by Azhar Siddique challenging formation of the committee under Article 225 of the constitution.
It was the third meeting of the committee. During the first meeting, the committee had elected its chairman while in the second, a sub-committee had been formed to prepare ToR. The opposition and the government, however, failed to reach consensus on ToR and insisted on adoption of their separate drafts. Finally it was decided to leave the matter to the main committee for a final.
The parliamentary committee, which comprises 15 members each from the government and the opposition, was formed in October. The committee has a mandate to scrutinise eview allegations of irregularities. It was formed following the opposition’s demand, but Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry raised questions over its legality, citing a constitutional provision (Article 225) under which electoral disputes can be taken only to the election tribunals.
Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2019