LAHORE: The senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders have categorically denied reports that the party is ready to show flexibility over the matter of appointment of the Public Accounts Committee chairman, it is learnt.
The opposition wants its leader Shehbaz Sharif to head the committee, but the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has sworn not to let that happen.
The issue has been a bone of contention between the opposition parties and the PTI government for quite some time.
Sources within the PML-N and the PPP say that the former is considering withdrawing its earlier principle position of not becoming a part of assembly committees until Shehbaz is made the PAC chairman and is contemplating proposing another name.
PPP sources say that the PML-N is considering forwarding Sardar Ayaz Sadiq’s name as he is the most suitable person for the position.
PML-N sources did not deny the possibility of Sadiq becoming the PAC chairman, but said the party had yet to decide as to who would become the PAC chairman.
On the other hand, senior PML-N leaders have denied any such development. PML-N leader Javed Latif said, “The party will not budge from its principle position.”
The PML-N leader said it was not a matter of any rigidity rather of principles. Latif said PTI should honour the assembly traditions, adding that they would not let the PTI push them around over the PAC issue.
He said the decision of the party was very clear that they would not become part of any assembly committee if Shehbaz was not made the PAC chairman, adding that the government was not serious in parliamentary affairs.
“PML-N has not been contacted by the PTI members over this issue,” he said, adding that even PPP would back them over the issue of PAC as they were the ones who had set the tradition.
He said the PTI seemed confused over the functioning of PAC as well as its domain. “PAC is no NAB or FIA, so what is the PTI afraid of,” he added.
Former Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah also denied any change in the position, saying their party is not considering proposing any other name.
“The only way forward is to make Shehbaz the PAC chairman, otherwise we will boycott the committees,” said Sanaullah.
Similarly, former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal also denied any such development, saying as far as his knowledge went the party was not considering on backtracking from its position.
It is pertinent to mention here that the PPP had taken a neutral stance over the issue. It was not supporting the government in its decision of not making Shehbaz the PAC chairman and proposed forming a sub-committee of PAC, headed by any PTI leader, to audit the previous government’s tenure and later allow the PAC to function under the chairmanship of Shehbaz to audit the existing government, in order to end the impasse. But that proposal did not gain any traction. The PPP also decided not to support the PML-N decision of boycotting the assembly committees.
‘Form national government’
Rana Sanaullah told The Express Tribune that a national government, comprising equal number of members from all political parties in parliament, should be made.
Sanaullah said the national government was the need of the hour given the crises the “country is heading towards”.
He said that the national government should function for two years, adding that after two years “we should head towards mid-term elections”.
When asked how national government could be formed, Sanaullah replied if MQM and BNP withdraw their support for PTI, their government would collapse immediately.
He said the PTI government was formed with a very thin margin, adding that even the PTI government should move towards forming a national government in the best interest of the country.
Separately, talking to the media in Narowal on Sunday, Ahsan Iqbal said, “This government was incompetent and incapable.”
He said the government had no roadmap for the economy. “Mid-term election is a threat from the prime minister to the opposition parties,” he said, adding that the PM should review the ground realities as the PTI members would be whitewashed given the performance of their government.