Lahore High Court Hears Petition Challenging Appointment of Chief Election Commissioner

Lahore High Court hears petition challenging Sikandar Sultan Raja's appointment as Pakistan's Chief Election Commissioner. The petitioner alleges Raja's appointment was made without proper advertising and on political grounds, questioning the selection process's transparency and impartiality.

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Rizwan Shah
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Lahore High Court Hears Petition Challenging Appointment of Chief Election Commissioner

Lahore High Court Hears Petition Challenging Appointment of Chief Election Commissioner

The Lahore High Court (LHC) is currently hearing a petition filed by Advocate Talib Hussain challenging the appointment of Sikandar Sultan Raja to be the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of Pakistan. The plea alleges that Raja's appointment was made without properly advertising the post and on political grounds, raising questions about the transparency and impartiality of the selection process for this critical constitutional position.

Why this matters: The independence and impartiality of the Chief Election Commissioner are essential for ensuring the integrity of elections and maintaining public trust in the democratic process. Any perceived bias or lack of transparency in the appointment process could have far-reaching consequences for the credibility of Pakistan's electoral institutions. Any perceived bias or lack of transparency in the appointment process could have far-reaching consequences for the credibility of Pakistan's electoral institutions.

During the hearing presided over by LHC Chief Justice Malik Shehzad Ahmed Khan, the petitioner argued that the appointment of a retired officer to the constitutional position of CEC is an "insult to the country and the nation." He contended that Raja's selection was the result of a "one-man agenda" and requested the court to declare the appointment illegal.

The public prosecutor, opposing the petition, stated that such a plea should be filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) instead. In response, the LHC has adjourned the hearing of the case until May 6 for further proceedings and has summoned a response regarding the admissibility of the petition.

The appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner is a matter of great importance, the CEC playing a vital role in overseeing and conducting free and fair elections in Pakistan. The Constitution of Pakistan mandates that the CEC be appointed by the President in consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly.

Sikandar Sultan Raja, a retired civil servant, was appointed CEC in January 2020 for a five-year term. His appointment came after a prolonged deadlock between the government and the opposition over the selection of the new CEC, following the retirement of the previous commissioner, Sardar Muhammad Raza, in December 2019.

The challenge to Raja's appointment raises important questions about the transparency and impartiality of the selection process for such a critical position. The allegation that the post was not properly advertised and that the appointment was made on political grounds strikes at the heart of the independence and credibility of the election commission.

The LHC continues to hear the petition and considers its admissibility, with the outcome of this case potentially having significant implications for the future of Pakistan's electoral system. The independence and impartiality of the Chief Election Commissioner are crucial for ensuring the integrity of elections and maintaining public trust in the democratic process.

The petition challenging Sikandar Sultan Raja's appointment as Chief Election Commissioner will be heard by the Lahore High Court on May 6. The court's decision on the admissibility of the plea and its potential ruling could have far-reaching consequences for the credibility and independence of Pakistan's electoral institutions.

Key Takeaways

  • Lahore High Court hears petition challenging Sikandar Sultan Raja's appointment as Chief Election Commissioner.
  • Petitioner alleges appointment was made without proper advertising and on political grounds.
  • Independence and impartiality of CEC crucial for ensuring election integrity and public trust.
  • Raja's appointment was made in January 2020 for a 5-year term after a prolonged deadlock.
  • Court's decision on May 6 could have far-reaching consequences for Pakistan's electoral institutions.