ISLAMABAD:(APS) The Supreme Court said Tuesday that if a permanent Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) was not appointed by Dec 5, then the court would consider on Dec 8 the issuance of notices against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk, was hearing the case pertaining to the appointment of a permanent CEC.
During the hearing, Attorney General Salman Butt was unable to convince the court in writing that the CEC post would be filled by Dec 5.
Earlier on Monday, the court had directed Butt to provide assurance to the apex court by today that the appointment of a new CEC would be made before the court’s Dec 5 deadline expires.
Butt told the Supreme Court that sincere efforts were under way to appoint a new CEC by the Dec 5 deadline.
The apex court rejected a request by Butt to postpone the case’s hearing to Dec 5.
The Supreme Court announced that it will initiate action against PM Nawaz and Shah if they fail to announce a new CEC by Dec 5.
It also said that its previous decision to withdraw Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali of the apex court on Dec 5 from the post of CEC would remain if the government and the opposition did not honour the court’s deadline.
The hearing of the case was subsequently adjourned to Dec 8.
The CEC office has been vacant for over 16 months after the retirement of Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim.
This is the fifth deadline given to the government by the Supreme Court. Earlier, the court had set Oct 28, Nov 13, Nov 24, Dec 5 as deadlines for the appointment of CEC.
After the expiry of the third deadline on Nov 24, the court had set Dec 1 for the appointment of the CEC and said it would withdraw on Dec 5 its judge Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali who is currently officiating as the CEC.
According to sources close to the developments regarding the new CEC’s appointment, the government and opposition were facing difficulties in finding a suitable candidate due to a constitutional bar that the CEC must be a retired judge from the superior judiciary.
The name of former Supreme Court judge Justice (retd) Tariq Pervez Khan is still under consideration for the CEC post, sources said.