Bi­lawal de­clines of­fer to lead top com­mit­tee

Gulf Times - - PAKISTAN -

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?

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