A day after the Sindh Assembly notified the names of MPAs who shall serve in the Sindh Public Accounts Committee (PAC), a resignation letter was handed in by PPP leader Sharjeel Memon excusing himself from the committee, citing a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) trial faced by him.
According to the March 19 notification, the following seven Sindh Assembly members were declared elected to the committee:
- Ghulam Qadir Chandio
- Faryal Talpur
- Sharjeel Inam
- Mohammad Qasim Soomro
- Abdul Karim Soomro
- Syed Farukh Ahmed Shah
- Ghanwer Ali Khan Isran
"Though as an MPA it is a matter of great honour for me that I have been elected to be a member of such an august committee [...] in the present circumstances, facing a NAB trial, I feel that I will not be in a position to discharge my duties as Member, PAC," Memon stated in the letter.
Faryal Talpur, PPP co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari's sister, is also embroiled in an accountability case concerning the use of fake bank accounts to launder money. There is no indication yet that she will be resigning from the post.
Controversy over the PAC
Though there is no restriction on the government in the rules to give the chairmanship of the PAC to opposition parties, it has been a parliamentary practice and tradition that the office is given to an opposition member to ensure transparency in financial matters.
In the Charter of Democracy (CoD), signed by the PML-N and the PPP in London in May 2006, the two parties had agreed that “the chairmen of public accounts committees in the National and provincial assemblies will be appointed by leaders of the opposition in the assemblies concerned”.
On December 13, after a long impasse, the PTI government had agreed to let the Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif chair the PAC in the National Assembly.
Meanwhile, the chairmanship of the Sindh PAC continued to hang in the balance.
During a Sindh Assembly session in February, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said he had communicated with Leader of the Opposition in Sindh Assembly, PTI's Firdous Shamim Naqvi, but the two failed to come to an agreement regarding the chairmanship of the PAC in Sindh.
"The reason being that he [the leader of the opposition in Sindh] demands things which are undemocratic," the chief minister had said.
With the three major opposition parties in the Sindh Assembly boycotting the election process for the PAC and 21 standing committees, lawmakers who had filed their nomination papers were on Tuesday declared elected unopposed.
Voting was scheduled for Wednesday, but Sindh Assembly Secretary G.M. Umar Farooq issued a notification on Tuesday evening stating that his office had received nominations for “only 22 committees” and the number of candidates was “equal to the number of vacancies to be filled”.
All seven members of the PAC belong to the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party.