Trying to find cogent reasons to oppose the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) choice of Admiral (retd) Fasih Bukhari as the new chief of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is finding itself in limbo.
The PML-N’s top leadership gathered on Wednesday at the Punjab House to deliberate on the issue but failed to reach a conclusion on whether or not to accept the nomination.
“The party will raise objections over the appointment but there weren’t really any sound technical grounds to reject it outright,” a PML-N legislator who attended the meeting told The Express Tribune.
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan will respond to the government regarding the nomination today (Thursday) through a formal letter which will be made public.
The PML-N will raise objections such as “they weren’t consulted before he was nominated” and will give the impression that they will see it in light with the judges of the Supreme Court, party insiders revealed.
The PML-N has been demanding that a sitting judge of the apex court head an “independent” commission but the proposed law on the new accountability commission is still pending with the National Assembly standing committee for the last two years as the PPP and the PML-N were unable to reconcile on some clauses.
Nawaz warming to the idea
During the meeting, insiders said, it appeared that PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif may have had a soft corner for Admiral Bukhari since he cited that retired navy officials have had an anti-Musharraf stance on a number of issues in the past.
Though the PML-N would publicly raise objections on the nomination, it will not take a tough stance like it did in the case of Justice (retd) Deedar Shah, sources said. The party had challenged his nomination in the Supreme Court, forcing Deedar to eventually quit his office.
Marking Oct 12 ‘Black Day’
Later in the day, though less in number, the PML-N was high in spirits, urging the nation for its support in bringing a revolution against the incumbent government.
The PML-N chief urged the nation for its support as he addressed parliamentarians of his party who had gathered in front of the Parliament House to mark October 12 – the day former military dictator Pervez Musharraf dislodged their democratically elected government – as ‘Black Day’.
They chanted slogans demanding that the government hang Musharraf for his unconstitutional steps.
According to an estimate and discussion with party officials, only 60 MNAs from a total of 92 were present at the rally where their party leader was scheduled to address his supporters.
“Mr Zardari! Things will no longer sail smoothly. Come out of the Presidency and see how people really feel,” the PML-N chief said.
In order to express solidarity with them, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) likeminded president Salim Saifullah and Kashmala Tariq, former allies of Musharraf, were also present on the occasion.
Saifullah invited Nawaz for a joint demonstration in Peshawar, saying it was his [Sharif’s] duty to steer the country out of its current crisis. He did, however, clarify that he had not joined Sharif, but was simply supporting the cause. (WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY QAMAR ZAMAN)
Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2011.