PML-N insists Shahbaz Sharif should be appointed PAC chairman

December 10, 2018

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"PTI is running away from accountability [...] it only wants to hold the opposition accountable," says Ahsan Iqbal. —AFP/File
"PTI is running away from accountability [...] it only wants to hold the opposition accountable," says Ahsan Iqbal. —AFP/File

PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal on Monday rubbished the reports that the opposition party was ready to show flexibility on their stance that the chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) should be given to Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif.

Dawn had earlier reported that the PTI has informally conveyed to the PML-N that it was ready to offer the PAC chairmanship to anyone from the party other than Shahbaz Sharif, and has also proposed the name of former National Assem­bly speaker Ayaz Sadiq.

However, Iqbal rejected these reports saying “it’s a tradition for the past 10 years that the opposition leader is appointed as the PAC chairman”. “The PPP and PML-N both have respected this tradition,” he added.

The former minister said that the PML-N will not compromise on the appointment of PAC chairman.

“By appointing their own PAC chairman in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, the PTI has made its intentions clear that it was running away from accountability,” Iqbal said, adding that the PTI only wants to “hold the opposition accountable and not itself”.

Quoting sources, Dawn had reported that the top PML-N leadership was considering the names of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Khawaja Asif and Pervaiz Malik for the chairmanship of the most powerful parliamentary committee, instead of Sadiq.

NA Speaker Asad Qaiser, who has been struggling to run the house smoothly since his election to the office due to the continuous squabbling between the treasury and the opposition members, is on a tightrope because of the ongoing tussle over the issue of the PAC chairmanship as he has to stop the process of the formation of the committees due to the opposition’s threat to boycott all the committees if the ruling party does not offer the PAC chairmanship to Sharif as per ‘parliamentary traditions’.

Qaiser, who is currently on an official visit to Iran, had last week met Prime Minister Imran Khan with other members of the ruling party and discussed the issue of formation of the house committees and the strategy to break the deadlock over the PAC chairmanship.

And before going to see the prime minister, the speaker had held a consultative meeting with the ruling party members and informed them about his ‘number of meetings’ with the opposition on the issue of the formation of the standing committees.

On Monday, the National Assembly started its sixth session with Speaker Qaiser still struggling to end a deadlock between the government and the opposition over the issue of the chairmanship of the PAC.