After a bi-partisan parliamentary committee formed by the Punjab Assembly speaker failed to reach a consensus in the stipulated time, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will meet on Sunday evening to pick a caretaker chief minister for Punjab.

The meeting chaired by ECP chief Sikandar Sultan Raja will be preceded by informal deliberations between the CEC and members of the commission to pave the way for a consensus on the matter.

The ECP has only a day to decide on the nominee for the slot as the two-day time given to the commission under Article 224-A of the Constitution will be expiring today.

A senior official of the ECP explained that the commission could not meet a day earlier as it officially received the names of four nominees from PA Speaker Sibtain Khan on Saturday.

The ECP will surely meet its constitutional obligation and announce the name for the Punjab caretaker chief minister today,“ an ECP official said.

It was expected that the matter would land in the ECP since PML-Q leader and ally of PTI, Parvez Elahi, had already announced to approach a court of law if any ‘controversial person’ was picked by the commission from the list of nominees shared with it by the parliamentary committee.

Mr Elahi has proposed the names of Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera and Naveed Akram Cheema while Hamza Shehbaz has endorsed the names of Mohsin Naqvi and Ahad Cheema for the caretaker slot.

Though, as per Article 224-A of the Constitution, the committee has three days to select one of the four nominees, due to a delay in the notification for the formation of the panel the committee was left with only one day to consider the four names.

PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry said that the ECP would pick one of the four nominees under Article 244-A of the Constitution within two days.

Taking to his Twitter handle, the former information minister said that the election watchdog had no authority to nominate anyone for the post of interim chief executive according to its choice.

‘APOLITICAL’ PERSON: Meanwhile, the PTI, which has cast suspicion on ECP’s decisions in the past, demanded that the ECP should appoint an “apolitical” person to the office.

Speaking to the media, Senator Ali Zafar if the ECP did not fulfil its responsibilities, then the matter may go to court.

He said that it was clear in the Constitution that an impartial person should be appointed for the slot of the caretaker chief minister.

He revealed that they have submitted their reservations to the parliamentary committee over the opposition’s suggestion of appointing Mohsin Raza Naqvi as the head of the interim government. “The Election Commission of Pakistan should take our reservations into consideration before taking a final decision on the matter,” he added.

On the resignations of the PTI legislators in the National Assembly, he said that either all of the resignations should be accepted or none of them; “the double standard shown by the treasury benches was against the Constitution”.

Zafar’s statement comes a day after the outgoing chief minister Elahi threatened of moving a court if any “controversial individual” was selected by the election watchdog from the panel of four nominees.

“We know the intention of the Election Commission, which is instituting cases against [PTI chairman] Imran Khan on a daily basis, and shall move the Supreme Court against its decision.”

Elahi had argued that the nominations he had made included pro-PML-N persons as one of them (Mr Sukhera) is Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s cabinet secretary, while Nasir Khosa had served as Punjab chief secretary when Mr Sharif was the chief minister.

Meanwhile, in a separate media talk, PTI leader and former National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser said that they met National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf and requested that if he was going to accept the resignations of the PTI parliamentarians then all of them should be accepted at once.

“The speaker’s act of accepting the resignations of a select group of our legislators was against the law and the Constitution. The coalition government was taking steps to protect its political interests,” he maintained and added that such illegal actions were creating an atmosphere for fresh elections. He reiterated that the PTI’s sole demand was snap polls.

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