ISLAMABAD: Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah on Tuesday proposed the names of two former Supreme Court judges for the slot of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman.
He formally proposed the names of Justice (retd) Bhagwandas and Justice (retd) Sardar Mohammad Raza Khan for the key constitutional position in a letter to the leader of the house: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The move came days after the prime minister kick-started the mandatory consultation process with the opposition leader by proposing the names of Justice (retd) Rehmat Hussain Jafari and former federal secretary Zaheer Ahmed for the post.
After the 18th constitutional amendment, NAB chairman cannot be appointed without the consent of the opposition leader in the National Assembly.
The key constitutional slot has been lying vacant since the Supreme Court sacked the then NAB chairman Fasih Bokhari – an appointee of the PPP government – on the ground that he was appointed without consultations with the opposition leader.
Speaking to the media in his chamber, Syed Khursheed Shah described his nominees as upright and men of character. He hoped the government would not have any objection to the opposition’s nominees.
Justice Bhagwandas served as acting chief justice of Pakistan from March 2007 to July 2007 after military ruler Pervez Musharraf sacked Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. After retirement from the superior judiciary, Justice Bhagwandas was again appointed as chairman Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) by the PPP government.
The second nominee of the opposition, Justice Raza Khan also possesses good reputation as judge of the superior judiciary.
Shah said he did not oppose the names proposed by the prime minister but merely put forth the opposition’s choices as per the constitutional mandate. “It’s now up to the government to choose any one or to go for further consultation,” he added.
Shah said he had meaningful consultations with the major opposition parties, including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Muttahida Qaumi Movement, and they agreed not to come up with their individual nominees.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2013.