ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani will appoint a new chief of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) within a “couple of days” but the appointee is unlikely to be a retired judge of the Supreme Court, two top officials said.
Law Secretary Masood Chishti and Attorney-General of Pakistan Maulvi Anwar-ul-Haq told The Express Tribune on Wednesday that the government might pick a retired bureaucrat for the slot. Both, however, refused to disclose the names of the contenders.
The key post has been lying vacant since the resignation of former NAB chairman Nawid Ahsan was accepted by Gilani last month.
According to a proposed law which will replace NAB with a new but mild accountability commission, the chairman has to be a retired judge of the Supreme Court.
But Chishti said it was not binding upon the government because the National Assembly has yet not passed the bill. Maulvi Haq said the choice for the slot could be a senior retired bureaucrat. NAB’s Deputy Chairman Javed Zia Qazi has been officiating as chief of the authority since Nawid’s resignation in what experts believe violation of NAB’s rules.
Maulvi Haq told The Express Tribune on Tuesday that the prime minister would consult leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan within a couple of days. The consultation, the attorney-general added, might take a week before the government could appoint the new chairman.
The 18th constitutional amendment envisages the appointment of NAB chief through mutual consultation between the premier and the opposition leader. But it appears from Wednesday’s statements that the government has something else on its mind.
Both the law secretary and the attorney-general suggested that the decision was going to be unilateral. Gilani had a meeting with Law Minister Dr Babar Awan and another brainstorming session between the two is likely on Thursday. “I think the appointment can take place on Friday,” Maulvi Haq said. (with additional reporting by Zia Khan)
Published in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2010.