Former chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani and retired Justice Tariq Pervez Khan have emerged as the most likely contenders for the office of chief election commissioner (CEC).
The two retired judges topped the list of five candidates whose names came under discussion at a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Ahmed Shah.
Soon after the meeting, Mr Shah consulted almost all opposition parties on the names of candidates for the key constitutional office. He is scheduled to meet the PTI leadership on Friday.
Rejecting a request by Mr Shah for another three months to complete the process of CEC’s appointment, the Supreme Court had on Oct 30 ordered that the office be filled by Nov 13; otherwise it would withdraw its judge currently serving as acting CEC.
Justice Jillani had already served as acting CEC from Aug 17 to Nov 30 last year before assuming the office of the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP).
Justice Tariq Pervez had served as chief justice of the Peshawar High Court when former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency in 2007. He was later elevated to the Supreme Court from where he retired in February last year.
Khursheed Shah said the name of new CEC was expected to be finalised after return of the prime minister from China on Nov 9. Mr Shah said he planned to leave for the UK on Nov 10. “No problem, we can discuss the issue on telephone,” he added.
He said he wanted to take all opposition parties into confidence so that no one could say tomorrow that the two big parties had done ‘muk muka’ (deal) on the matter.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has reportedly recommended the name of retired Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid for the post of CEC.
The CEC was earlier appointed by the president but under Article 213 of the Constitution, the prime minister, in consultation with the leader of opposition, is required to forward three names to the parliamentary committee for confirmation of one of them.