Even though the party has decided to formally challenge the appointment of the new National Accountability Bureau chairman in court, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz did not broach the subject at all during Monday’s session at the National Assembly.
The silence over the appointment of Fasih Bokhari, a retired admiral and the former naval chief, as the head of the top government watchdog was rather surprising given the PML-N’s decision to challenge the president’s decision in court.
“We have decided to file a petition and challenge the appointment,” PML-N’s spokesperson Senator Mushahidullah Khan told The Express Tribune. “President Zardari has not given a satisfactory reply to the letter written by the leader of the opposition.”
Senator Khan, however, provided no time-frame for filing the petition at the Supreme Court and seemed unaware of what legal grounds the PML-N would be challenging Bokhari’s appointment on.
The senator’s statements stood in sharp contrast to National Assembly Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, also of the PML-N, who had raised some technical objections over the manner in which President Asif Ali Zardari had appointed the new NAB chairman, but did not criticise the choice of Bokhari for the job.
According to the 18th Amendment to the constitution, the NAB chairman cannot be appointed without the consent of the opposition leader in the National Assembly. President Zardari wrote a letter to Chaudhry Nisar on October 9, seeking his consent on the appointment.
The PML-N is of the view that the letter was inadequate consultation.
The PML-N had also challenged the appointment of the previous NAB chairman, Deedar Hussain Shah, a retired judge of the Sindh High Court. The Supreme Court had ruled in favour of the PML-N’s challenge and Shah was asked to leave office.
Bokhari assumed charge of NAB, which had been going through organisational atrophy and administrative paralysis owing to the lack of a chairman.
NAB is a highly centralised organisation that requires its chairman’s approval for virtually every major decision, including which cases to prosecute, how much resources to put into which investigation, etc.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2011.