Former SC judge to be Pak`s new CEC

An India-born former judge of Pakistan`s Supreme Court is set to be the country`s new Chief Election Commissioner.

Updated: Jul 09, 2012, 21:33 PM IST

Islamabad: An India-born former judge of Pakistan`s Supreme Court is set to be the country`s new Chief Election Commissioner as the ruling PPP and opposition parties on Monday forged consensus on his appointment.

After weeks of differences in choosing a consensus candidate, the PPP and opposition parties decided that former Supreme Court judge Fakhruddin G Ebrahim would be appointed the new Chief Election Commissioner.

The Parliamentary Committee on the Appointment of the CEC developed consensus on Ebrahim during a meeting chaired this afternoon by Religious Affairs Minister Khursheed Shah.

The post of CEC has been vacant since March 24 and the main opposition PML-N had rejected most of the candidates proposed by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

Shah told the media that Ebrahim was an "experienced and impartial person".

The PPP-led government had decided to take the opposition "on board on all issues of national importance" and the consensus on the appointment of the CEC reflected this, he said.

In a statement, President Asif Ali Zardari said the members of the committee had shown maturity and wisdom "at this critical time when the appointment of consensus Chief Election Commissioner was of absolute importance for free and fair elections as a necessary requirement for political stability".

Ebrahim will now oversee the Election Commission`s preparations for the general election scheduled for March-April next year.

However, opposition parties have been demanding that the polls be advanced and commentators have said allegations of corruption and poor governance could force the government to hold the election later this year.

Ebrahim was born in February 1928 at Dhrol in the Indian state of Gujarat.

An eminent jurist and constitutional expert, Ebrahim has also served as Attorney General and Governor of Sindh province.

In March 1981, while serving as an ad-hoc judge of the Supreme Court, he refused to take a fresh oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order promulgated by then military ruler Zia-ul-Haq.

Ebrahim heads the law firm of Fakhruddin G Ebrahim & Company, which was originally established in Bombay and shifted to Karachi in 1951.

He also has long-standing ties with the Pakistan Cricket Board.