ISLAMABAD: The deadlock between the PML-N’s government and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman over the appointment of the new prosecutor general (PG) for the accountability watchdog continues.
The post has been vacant since last month, when the three-year tenure of former PG Waqas Qadeer Dar ended. Under the law, the federal government must make the appointment after consulting the NAB chairman.
A senior NAB official told The Express Tribune that the filing of cases by NAB has almost stopped due to the absence of the PG. Under the law, no appeal can be filed in any court of law without the approval of the PG. He said that in view of the high court’s order, an additional PG cannot work as acting PG.
The appointment is also significant as an accountability court is hearing references against the Sharif family in view of the SC’s Panama Papers verdict. A senior government official told The Express Tribune that the deadlock is because the PML-N leadership wants to a nominee of their choice, while the NAB chairman wants someone he trusts.
Last week, NAB Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal sent a list of five lawyers to the federal government to pick from. The chairman proposed Mudhasir Khalid Abbasi, Shah Khawar, Syed Asghar Haider, Fasihul Mulk, and Nasir Saeed Sheikh. But the top brass of the government is not interested any of them, sources said.
They informed that the Sharif family want to appoint a lawyer of their own choice, but the chairman is unwilling to accept this. The PML-N proposed the name of Waqar Mir, but the NAB chief did not add him to the shortlist.
Another senior official, however, said that there is no deadlock, claiming that headhunting is still going on. The government had also contacted several lawyers for nomination to the post of PG before the recent appointment of the incumbent NAB chairman, but many of them flatly declined.
In the meanwhile, a senior government official revealed that the situation has changed after the appointment of Justice Iqbal. Senior PML-N lawyers are now proposing the name of Sadique Awan as the new NAB PG.
Earlier, Justice Iqbal met Attorney General for Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali, but they also could not agree on names. Experts said Waqas Qadeer Dar had a good run as PG. During his three years, the conviction rate at accountability courts was 59 per cent, and 73 per cent at high courts.