ISLAMABAD–President Mamnoon Hussain on Thursday approved the appointment of Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan as the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) on the advice of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.
The prime minister sent an advice to the president for the appointment of Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan on the recommendation of the Parliamentary Committee on the Appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and members of the Election Commission of Pakistan.
The Chairman of the parliamentary committee, Senator Rafiq Rajwana, chaired a meeting here in which three names — Justice (retd) Tariq Pervez, Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan and Justice (retd) Tanveer Ahmed were placed before the committee and ECP members.
The meeting unanimously approved the name of Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan for the office of the CEC. He will take the oath of his new office today. Justice (retd) Raza currently presides over the Federal Shariat Court (FSC).
He retired as an SC judge in 2011 and refused to take oath under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) after military dictator Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency in Nov 2007.
The appointment came after consultations between Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, on behalf of the prime minister, and the Leader of Opposition Syed Khursheed Ahmad Shah.
Dar later held consultations with the all the political parties in the government and in opposition, including the PTI, on the proposed names.Talking to newsmen after the meeting, Senator Rafiq Rajwana said Senator Islamuddin Sheikh proposed the name of Justice (retd) Raza and other members endorsed it.
“This was a unanimous decision,” he added.Rajwana was positive that the new CEC would hold transparent elections in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution.
“I hope that the new chief election commissioner will hold free, fair and transparent elections when the time comes so that nobody has doubts about their fairness. The prime minister will be informed of the decision through a letter after which he would issue a formal notification of the appointment of Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan as the Chief Election Commissioner.”
Rajwana lauded the Leader of the Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah and Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar for actively seeking the opinion of various political parties to develop a consensus.
He said the prime minister desired that both the opposition as well as the government should present a common list of nominees. He said the recommendations of the parliamentary committee augur well for the future of democratic institutions in the country.
In a meeting at the Parliament House, Syed Khursheed Shah and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar finalised three names — Justice Tariq Pervez, Justice Sardar Raza Khan and Justice Tanveer Ahmed — and sent them to the parliamentary committee to select any of them as the CEC as per Article 213 (2A & 2B) of the Constitution.
The other members of the 12-member parliamentary committee are Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar, Muhammad Junaid, Anwaar Chaudhry, Dr Darshan, Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan Nasir and Muhammad Arshad Khan Leghari from the PML-N, Muhammad Ayaz Soomro, Shazia Marri and Senator Islamuddin Sheikh from the PPP, Sheharyar Afridi of the PTI, Doctor Muhammad Farooq Sattar of the MQM and Haji Muhammad Adeel of the ANP.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) legislator Sheharyar Afridi did not attend the meeting of the committee.The PTI MNAs refrained from attending the parliamentary committee meeting as its legislators had tendered their resignations en masse at the peak of the Islamabad sit-ins in August.
Talking to newsmen, Syed Khursheed Shah praised the parliamentary committee and the ECP members for endorsing Justice Raza and said the PPP welcomed the consensus decision.“The PPP hopes Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan will come up to the expectations of the people of Pakistan and will conduct free, fair and transparent elections when the time comes,” he added.
He said a fair and transparent procedure was adopted and consultation was made with all the political parties.“I am thankful to the heads of all the political parties for making their valuable contribution to the process of selecting the right person for the post of chief election commissioner,” he added.
Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan joined the PCS (Judicial Branch) in 1970 after passing the competitive examination held in 1968-69. He was appointed senior civil judge in 1973.
In 1976, he was appointed an additional district and sessions judge and district and sessions judge in 1979. Khan was the Judicial Commissioner for the Northern Areas for over four years and was appointed the Special Judge Customs Taxation and Anti Smuggling in 1992-93.
He was named to the Peshawar High Court on December 14, 1993 and confirmed in June 1995. On April 28, 2000, he took oath as the Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court. He was elevated to the Supreme Court on January 10, 2002.After refusing to take oath under the PCO on November 3, 2007, he and 11 other judges were removed from the Supreme Court.
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