KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Friday passed a resolution condemning the petition against National Accountability Bureau Chief Deedar Hussain Shah’s appointment.
Pakistan Peoples Party member Sharjeel Memon presented and said that the petition filed by the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar, was biased and partial.
During the session, PPP MPAs condemned the apex court's verdict in strong words and later marched towards the Sindh High Court (SHC) to register their protest against the decision.
Updated from print edition (below)
PPP calls for day of protest in Sindh today
The already tense relations between the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and the Supreme Court took a nosedive on Thursday after the PPP called for a ‘peaceful general strike’ across Sindh on Friday against the apex court’s verdict invalidating the appointment of the chief of the National Accountability Bureau.
The call for strike was given by PPP’s provincial secretary-general Taj Haider at a press conference. He was accompanied by Sharjeel Inam Memon, Agha Taimur Pathan and Imdad Ali Pitafi. Terming the day a ‘protest day’, Haider urged transporters, businessmen and shopkeepers to “abide by the strike call”.
Meanwhile, PPP leaders in Islamabad seem to be contemplating whether or not they should try re-appointing the retired apex court judge, Deedar Hussain, as head of the NAB.
Two of the PPP’s coalition partners, the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) and the Awami National Party (ANP), dissociated themselves from the strike, claiming that they were not consulted on the issue.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement has not yet commented on the development.
Lawyers criticised the move and said that the strike was “uncalled for” and there were other ways to handle the situation. The Karachi Bar Association’s Haider Imam Rizvi and Muhammad Aqil said that courts would remain open on Friday.
Aqil said that a protest would set a precedent and everyone would protest when a court rules against them.
A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Javed Iqbal, said in a short order that the appointment of a retired judge, Justice Deedar Hussain Shah, as the chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was illegal and a violation of the Constitution. Shah was “ordered to cease the office forthwith”
The PPP leadership, however, seems to feel that the decision by the court was hasty. Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq said that court’s short order on his removal does not mention the grounds on which the appointment was considered unconstitutional. It is partly due to this that the talk of a possible re-appointment even began.
“We are waiting for the detailed verdict. The appointment can be made after the court releases detailed decision,” Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq told The Express Tribune.
Under the 18th Amendment to the constitution, the prime minister is required to consult with the parliamentary opposition leader, in this case Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) faction, before appointing the chairman of the NAB. Chaudhry Nisar rejected Deedar Hussain’s appointment when he was first nominated. When the PPP appointed him anyway, Nisar sued.
The National Accountability Bureau was created under the administration of former President Musharraf. The position of its chairman has always been deemed controversial since the chairman can decide to ‘selectively’ pursue accountability cases against the opposition. Partly to remove the controversy, the 18th Amendment to the constitution required the prime minister to consult the opposition before making the appointment.
Chaudhry Nisar claims that his background makes Deedar Hussain a biased partisan. He claimed that he was not consulted before the appointment was made.
Deedar, 71, is from Larkana, a stronghold of the PPP and was considered one of the closest friends of the party’s founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. He was elected as a member of the Sindh Assembly twice on PPP ticket in 1988 and 1990 elections after his retirement.
WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING FROM IRFAN GHAURI
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ