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Naek presides meeting regarding composition of Election Commission of Pakistan

Islamabad, January 23, 2013 (PPI-OT): In pursuance of the decision taken in the Islamabad Long March Declaration of January 17, 2013, a meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Mr. Farooq H. Naek, Federal Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs to discuss the composition of the Election Commission of Pakistan.

The following members attended the meeting:

Mr. S.M Zafar, Senior Advocate of Supreme Court of Pakistan
Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan, Senior Advocate of Supreme Court of Pakistan
Abdul Latif Afridi, Senior Advocate of Supreme Court of Pakistan
Dr. Khalid Ranjha, Senior Advocate of Supreme Court of Pakistan
Dr. Muhammad Farrogh Naseem, Advocate of Supreme Court of Pakistan
Prof. Hammayun Ehsan

The Committee considered various aspects of the matter referred and after deliberating over the relevant constitutional provisions, there was a consensus that neither the Chief Election Commissioner nor any member of the Election Commission could be removed from office by the fiat or discretion of the Government.

Article 218 of the Constitution provides for the composition of a permanent Election Commission for the purpose of holding elections to both the houses of the Parliament and the Provincial Assemblies. The permanent composition of the Election Commission implies that it can not be dissolved by any legislative or executive action.

As far as the question of Chief Election Commissioner and individual members is concerned their tenure is provided in Article 215 as five years from the date the Chief Election Commissioner or member enters upon his office and the process of removal is only in the manner prescribed in Article 209 for the removal of a Judge of a Superior Court. Article 209 of Constitution envisages a reference by the president on grounds which do not appear to be available against the Chief Election Commissioner or any incumbent member of the Commission.

The Constitution envisages security of tenure for the Chief Election Commissioner and members of the Commission which cannot be taken away without an amendment in the Constitution, which may itself be controversial and unattainable.

This panel, therefore, is of the view that in the light of aforementioned provisions of the Constitution neither the Chief Election Commissioner nor any member of the Commission can be removed by legislative or executive action.

For more information, contact:
Haji Ahmed Malik
Principal Information Officer
Press Information Department (PID)
Tel: +9251 925 2323 and +9251 925 2324
Fax: +9251 925 2325 and +9251 925 2326
Email: piopid@gmail.com

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