Govt to approach chief justice over NAB chief’s appointment

If decisi­on is not made by July 21 the bureau will become ineffe­ctive.


Zahid Gishkori July 14, 2011

ISLAMABAD:


With the deadline for the appointment of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chief approaching next week, the government has decided to approach the Supreme Court (SC) chief justice to finalise a person for the post, amid a lack of response from the opposition.


A senior government official said the government will send the recommended names by July 19.

“The decision has been made after  controversies over the powerful slot of NAB chief as the leader of the opposition did not agree upon a name for the slot,” said a senior official from the ministry of law and justice.

Earlier, the government had claimed that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) did not respond to two separate letters in which three names were suggested. The first letter was written earlier this year to the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and the most recent one was sent last month, another official said. “But Nisar has not responded to these letters to date,” he added.

The apex court had given a deadline of July 21 to the government to appoint a new chairman for the accountability bureau. According to sources, the ministry of law and justice has prepared a summary nominating three names for the post, including that of Justice (Retd) Sardar Raza Khan. The summary will be sent to the chief justice within a few days.

“The chief justice may nominate a person for the post, before the bureau is considered ineffective,” sources added, while quoting the text of the letter. As the government and the opposition have failed to reach an agreement on the issue, the Supreme Court may make a decision, the letter added. Sources in the law ministry said the government had suggested the names of Justice (Retd) Raza Khan, Justice (Retd) Mukhtar Junejo, and former federal secretary Mehmood Saleem Mehmood, but no one was acceptable to the PML-N. Justice Raza Khan said that he would not say anything about assuming charge unless he is formally appointed, he told The Express Tribune.

Law Secretary Masood Chishti said he did not know about any letter, but hoped that the post would be filled before the SC’s deadline.

PML-N Information Secretary Ahsan Iqbal said that if the government sends “reasonable” names to the chief justice, his party will accept the decision. However, he expressed his ignorance regarding the recent letter sent to Chaudhry Nisar. “The government is playing games with the accountability system as the seat is lying vacant since months,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2011.

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