ISLAMABAD, (APP): 22nd Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2016 passed by NA
The National Assembly on Thursday passed the constitutional (22nd Amendment) Bill, 2016 unanimously with two-third majority on eligibility criteria for appointment of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
The bill was moved by Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid .
According to the Law, at present only retired Judges of Supreme Court or High Court are eligible for appointment as Chief Election Commissioner or Members, respectively. Now after amendment, in addition to retired judges of Supreme Court or High Court, retired senior bureaucrats or senior civil servants and technocrats will also be eligible for appointment as CEC or a member.
A senior civil servant means a civil servant who has served for at least 20 years under federal or a provincial government and has retired in BPS-22 or above.
A person having 16 years` education and 20 years` experience would be called a technocrat. The law also fixed a maximum age limit of 68 years and 65 years for appointment as CEC and ECP members.
In order to give representation to all provinces, out of four members, one from each province shall be appointed.
Another important change relates to continuity of the Commission, whereby instead of all four members retiring together, two of the members shall retire every two and a half years. For the first term, the Commission will draw a lot as to which two members shall retire after the first two and a half years.
Other amendments provide that delimitation of constituencies and preparation of electoral rolls for elections to local governments shall also be the responsibility of the ECP .
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid congratulated the members for passing the bill unanimously. He said the Prime Minister had written a letter to Speaker National Assembly to form a committee with consensus of all the political parties to prepare a comprehensive electoral package.
He said the electoral reforms committee held 18 meetings while 57 meetings of the sub-committee were held in this regard. He said they received 1200 proposals and reviewed all of them unanimously.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar also congratulated the members for passage of the bill unanimously and termed it a historic day in parliamentary history of the country.
The Bill will now be tabled before the Senate.