PTI Govt concedes PAC chairmanship to Shahbaz Sharif, a big win for opposition

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Nation special report
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government on Thursdayconceded the chairmanship of Public Accounts Committee to OppositionLeader Shehbaz Sharif , almost three months after a stalemate overthe key position.

The two sides agreed on Shehbaz’s name after Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi informed the National Assembly earlier on Thursday that Prime Minister Imran Khan was allowing the opposition to nominate the PAC chairman in the larger interest of democracy and parliamentary norms.

The PTI government had long stuck to its stance that the opposition should come up with any name other than Shehbaz Sharif for the chairmanship, but the opposition was of the view that past traditions of the National Assembly should be honoured.

However, speaking on the floor of the National Assembly earlier on Thursday, Qureshi said the government was leaving the decision to the opposition leader to nominate a person of his choice for the position. If, however, the opposition leader chose to nominate himself for the role then the government would not object, the foreign minister had added.

The constitution of House committees was a very important matter for the parliament in order to function effectively, Qureshi had said.

The foreign minister had pointed out that the opposition leader was embroiled in National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases. These cases were not filed by the incumbent government; NAB had nothing to do with the House, Qureshi had told the National Assembly.

Referring to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Khawaja Saad Rafique, the foreign minister had said that requesting production orders for an MNA remained a due right of the opposition and the government respected that.

Shehbaz, speaking on the floor, had welcomed the gesture by the government to leave the choice of nominating PAC chairman with the opposition. This step would promote democratic norms and traditions and further solidify the institution of parliament, he had added.

Criticizing the role of NAB, the PML-N president had said it was clear that the anti-corruption watchdog was highly selective in its accountability process, and that it would not be able to prove even a penny’s worth of corruption against him.