ISLAMABAD: Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Babar Yaqoob Fateh Malik, who would be reaching superannuation on October 31, has been given an unprecedented extension for another three years, sources said.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had appointed him as secretary ECP in May this year. Babar Yaqoob was due to reach superannuation – the official retirement age on October 31.
However, days before his retirement, the poll body has hired him on contract for another three years. The secretary ECP confirmed it when contacted.
After this extension, he would be heading ECP’s bureaucracy in the next general elections due before September 2018.
The five-year term of incumbent assemblies, which came into being as a result of the May 11, 2013 general elections, would expire in June next year.
In all possible scenarios these elections cannot go beyond October 2018, which means Babar Yaqoob will still be heading the ECP bureaucracy.
All the four members of the ECP will complete their five-year term in June 2016. New members will be appointed in the poll supervisory body – one from each of the four provinces to replace the outgoing ones.
However, after the secretary’s extension, two key office bearers Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Raza Khan, who assumed office in December last year for a fixed period of five years, and Babar Yaqoob would be there till the next general elections.
Meanwhile, election campaigns for the first phase of the local government (LG) elections scheduled on October 31 in Punjab and Sindh will consummate on Thursday (today) midnight.
Moreover, the ECP has announced that poll timings for Saturday’s elections will be from 7:30am to 5:30pm.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 29th, 2015.