Bilawal declines offer to lead top committee
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has turned down a government offer to become chairman of the National Assembly’s powerful Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
According to the PPP, the government offered the slot of PAC chairman to the PPP chief, but he was reluctant to hold this office.
Bhutto Zardari’s spokesman Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar said that the government had contacted the PPP chairman and made the offer during Friday’s session of the lower house of parliament.
However, he said, the PPP chief was of the view that by convention, it should be Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif to lead the PAC, and in case he (Sharif) did not want to hold the office, it is his prerogative to nominate any other person for the post.
Earlier during the National Assembly session, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had a chat with Bhutto Zardari, during which the latter showed reluctance to become the PAC chairman.
When contacted, the minister said that the Pakistan Tehreeke-Insaf (PTI) government had not extended any such offer to Bhutto Zardari.
He said that he had met the PPP chief in the National Assembly and reiterated the PTI’s stance that the post of PAC chairman should be held by the ruling party to audit the projects launched by the previous (Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz, PML-N) government.
“I told Bilawal, ‘how can Shehbaz Sharif be allowed to assess projects executed by the government of his elder brother (former prime minister) Nawaz Sharif?’” Chaudhry said.
Earlier, Bhutto Zardari said his party would fully co-operate with National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar in maintaining harmony among members of the treasury and opposition benches.
He said it is an encouraging sign on the part of the government that it had started realising the importance of productive proceedings of the lower house.
The main opposition PML-N insists that it is its right to hold the office of PAC chairman, as the position was held by the opposition leader during the last two regimes.
On the other hand, the PTI has insisted that it is the right of the ruling party to ascertain irregularities allegedly committed by the previous PML-N government in development projects and other financial matters.
The PML-N says that it is “seriously considering” the option of taking the extreme step of withdrawing from all parliamentary committees if the government does not offer the post of PAC chairman to the opposition.
Sources in the PML-N said that during recent meetings, the party leaders had discussed various options to record its protest over the government’s possible move to deny the opposition the PAC chairmanship.
Bhutto Zardari: said that it should be Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif to lead the Public Accounts Committee, or his nominee.
Sharif: the Leader of the Opposition in the lower house of parliament is currently under the custody of the National Accountability Bureau.
Chaudhry: how can Shehbaz Sharif be allowed to assess projects executed by the government of his elder brother (exprime minister) Nawaz Sharif?