ISLAMABAD: Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has apparently rejected a government proposal that Justice (retd) Deedar Hussain Shah be reappointed as head of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Khan, who is a member of the Pakistan Muslim LeagueNawaz (PML-N), conveyed his disagreement in a two-page response to a letter President Asif Zardari wrote to him earlier this month.
Khan said he had previously rejected Shah’s appointment because of his ties to the PPP and was inclined to do so again for the same reasons as he felt the post of NAB chief should be bipartisan.
The letter, written by Khan’s secretary and addressing Zardari’s secretary, adds, however, that the leader of the opposition would get back to the president with his final word after the Supreme Court issues a detailed verdict.
The Supreme Court in a short order earlier this month declared the appointment of Shah, a loyalist of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP),
illegal in response to a petition filed by Khan arguing that he was never consulted.
The next day, Zardari wrote letters to both Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Khan seeking their opinions on reappointing the same person in what appeared to be an attempt to fulfil his legal obligation to “consult” the premier and the opposition leader.
The government is bound under the Constitution to consult the opposition leader on the appointment of the NAB chief, a powerful position that has been used by past governments to pursue politically-motivate cases against opposition members. PPP members say that “consult” does not mean consent or consensus.
PML-N sources said that they would consider moving the Supreme Court again if Zardari issued a fresh order for Shah’s appointment.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2011.