LAHORE: The usually mild Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has advised the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz not to ‘flex its muscle’ against the federal government, rubbishing its opposition to the appointment of the new National Accountability Bureau chief.
“It is the prerogative of the president of Pakistan to appoint whomever [to the post]. Consultation does not mean appointing the person that the leader of the opposition agrees with,” Gilani said, during his visit on Sunday to the residence of Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q) leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Husain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi.
The prime minister’s comments come a day after National Assembly Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) filed a petition in the Supreme Court, challenging the appointment of Fasih Bokhari, a retired admiral, as the NAB chairman.
Gilani said that Chaudhry Nisar had objected to each and every nomination made for the slot, which is “illegal” and should be stopped. “The Pakistan Peoples Party-led coalition government should be credited for appointing the opposition leader as the chairperson of accountability,” he said, referring to the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee which Nisar heads.
“Once someone comes into power in a province or in the centre, they should abstain from using it against the federation,” he said.
Referring to the PML-N’s planned rally for October 28, which is to be led by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, he said it is illegal and the Punjab government should not participate in it. Calling Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) a “threat” to PML-N’s hold in Punjab, he said that PML-N’s rallies in the province are merely a tactic to maintain its image before the people and to counter PTI.
He said that PML-N should not only fear PTI, it must also worry about the Senate election in March 2012 and the government’s fifth budget. “Shahbaz should not worry that there will be rigging in the next general elections. The polls in 2013 will be transparent, free and fair,” Gilani said, in response to Shahbaz’s recent statement that elections held under President Zardari will be bloody. The prime minister also said that Shahbaz’s demand to remove Zardari was undemocratic and in violation of a chief minister’s oath.
To ensure free elections, he said he had appointed four members of an independent election commission with Nisar’s consultation. “On his request, PPP’s chief whip in the National Assembly Khurshid Shah will coordinate and soon issue a notification.”
(Read: Nabbing not an option)
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2011.