Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani's spokesman on Monday refuted opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar's claim of not receiving a letter sent by the President about the NAB chief.
The spokesman claims the letter was received by Chaudhry Nisar's guard at the opposition leader's residence in Rawalpindi on March 11.
The letter was written in connection with consultation on the appointment of NAB chairman after the Supreme Court ruled Deedar Hussain Shah's appointment illegal.
In a news conference in Islamabad on Sunday, Chaudhry Nisar said he had not received any such letter.
Updated from print edition (below)
NAB chief’s appointment: Nisar says he did not receive any letter
The appointment of the top accountability chief, which has caused much friction between state institutions and political parties, increased tensions between the PPP and PML-N on Sunday after Opposition Leader National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said he had not received any letter on the appointment of the NAB chief.
The verbal brawl started by Nisar turned into a full-blown blame game when Law Minister Babar Awan had a separate media briefing to respond to the opposition leader’s allegations.
Last Friday, President Asif Ali Zardari wrote a letter to Khan to seek his opinion on the reappointment of PPP loyalist Justice (Retd) Deedar Hussain Shah after the Supreme Court in its short verdict last week ordered that Deedar be removed. Chaudhry said he had not received any letter until now and would respond to it only when the Supreme Court gave a detailed verdict that was likely to contain reasons for which Deedar was “unfit” for the position.
“The consultation on the appointment of NAB chief is only possible in the backdrop of Supreme Court’s detailed ruling (on the removal of Shah),” Nisar told reporters.
And living up to his reputation, Khan did not restrict himself to the issue of reappointment in the NAB. He also used the opportunity to fire some shots on his target President Asif Ali Zardari.
“It looks like Zardari has taken it upon himself to ruin democracy and undermine the rule of law for his personal ambitions. We cannot leave it to him…most of government’s energies are utilised on saving him,” said a fuming Nisar.
The president is the man behind a “shameful” retaliatory strike in Sindh last week against the Supreme Court’s order to remove Deedar, he alleged. And without wasting a moment, Nisar called Zardari a “threat to democracy” more than anything else.
Khan gave a warning to the Zardari administration: “It won’t be easy for you to continue whatever legislation you carry out at the moment,” he said adding “you have to address the parliament in a week. You must think over it and try to understand. You cannot take over everything.”
But what appeared to be the utmost worry for Nisar at the moment was an emerging alliance between the PPP and Pakistan Muslim league-Q. He recalled the political rivalry between PPP and PML-Q leaders, arguing it would be impossible for them to come out of the “long shadows” of bygone days.
Enraged by Nisar’s comments about Zardari and possible alliance between the PPP and PML-Q , Law Minister Babar Awan wasted no time to respond. “The PML-N leaders,” said an angry Awan, “are using state institutions as a shield for their politics.”
Though he didn’t name any institution, he seemed to refer to the Supreme Court and the military with which Nisar has recently had several secret meetings. “The mastermind of this political game is the leader of the opposition Nisar Ali Khan,” Babar added.
Awan ridiculed what he called the use of “witchcraft” by Nisar and said his politics might land PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif in Jeddah again—a Saudi city where he spent his seven years in exile after being overthrown by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf back in 1999.
“The PML-N is encouraging judicial marshal law in the country,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 14th, 2011.
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