ISLAMABAD: A controversy arose during the in-camera meeting of the parliamentary committee to appoint the chairperson of National Commission on Status of Women (NCSW).

The opposition claimed that its nominee Fozia Waqar had been chosen for the post lying vacant for the last two years but alleged that the ruling PTI member, who chaired the meeting, “ran away” without declaring the result.

According to the opposition members, Ms Waqar polled six votes against five bagged by PTI’s candidate Nilofar Bakhtiyar during the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Appointment of the NCSW chairperson. However, the controversy arose when Falak Naz, who was chairing the meeting, said she was using her casting vote and now the votes had become equal.

When contacted, Dr Nafeesa Shah of the PPP said the opposition members had already written to National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser to forward Ms Waqar’s name to the prime minister as per the law for her official nomination.

Dr Shah explained that according to law the PM and the opposition leader sent a joint list of nominees after consultation. When the PM and the opposition leader did not agree, they sent the list separately. The committee finalised the name of the chairperson and sent it to the PM through the speaker.

“So the appointment of chairperson rests with the committee,” Dr Shah added.

She said during the Tuesday meeting, the committee comprised equal number of members from the treasury and opposition. Opposition nominee Fozia Waqar got six votes while Nilofar Bakhtiyar got five votes.

“The chairperson of the committee said she would poll her casting vote. Under the rules, casting vote is used if votes originally polled are equal. Instead of deciding her victorious, the chairperson of the committee left. This is violation of the rules,” Dr Shah said, adding the treasury members were unaware of the rules.

However, when a member of the parliamentary committee, Senator Sana Jamali, was contacted, she said there was confusion in the appointment of the nominee.

“There will be re-election,” she said.

However, PML-N senior leader Tahira Aurangzeb while talking to the media after the meeting alleged that the constitution and rules in election of the NCSW head had been violated.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2021

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