ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq on Thursday finally constituted 40 standing committees, including the powerful Public Accounts Committee (PAC), after more than a three-month delay.

According to an official announcement of the Nati­onal Assembly Secretariat, the speaker has finalised the members’ names of the committees in pursuance of the motion adopted in the National Assembly on May 17.

A source in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), who is a part of the process, told Dawn that according to the agreed formula, the opposition Sunni Ittehad Cou­ncil (SIC) would get the chairmanship of 10 committees, including the PAC.

Besides, he said, PML-N would get the chairmanship of 13 committees whereas the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) would get the chairmanship of eight and two committees, respectively. The chairmanship of the remaining committees would be distributed among the parties in the ruling coalition, he added.

The PML-N leader said that PPP and MQM-P were demanding chairmanship of the committees more than their share and negotiations were on with them on the issue. In response to a question, he said, it was yet to be decided as to which committees would go to these parties.

As far as the PAC is concerned, he said, the PML-N had agreed to offer its chairmanship to the opposition SIC as per the past tradition and in line with the Charter of Democracy (CoD) signed between the PPP and PML-N in May 2006.

It may be mentioned that the PTI-SIC had initially nominated Sher Afzal Marwat for the office of the PAC chairman, but later decided to nominate Sheikh Waqas Akram for the post. Interestingly, the list of the PAC members notified by the NA Secretariat shows that Mr Marwat is not even a member of the PAC.

According to the notification, the PAC members are Sardar Yousuf Zaman, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, Junaid Anwar Chaudhry, Shezra Mansab Kharal, Raza Hayat Harraj and Rana Qasim Noon of PML-N; Murtaza Mehmood, Shazia Marri, Syed Hussain Tariq, Syed Naveed Qamar and Hina Rabbani Khar of PPP; Opposition Leader Omar Ayub Khan as an independent; Sanaullah Mastikhail, Junaid Akbar, Riaz Khan, Waqas Akram, Aamir Dogar and Khawaja Sheeraz Mehmood of the SIC, Moin Aamer Pirzada of the MQM-P and Shahida Begum of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F).

Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb will be an ex-officio member of the PAC.

Moreover, the Senate chairman will also nominate eight senators for the committee.

It was due to lack of understanding and some differences that the government and the opposition had failed to agree on the composition and the chairmanship of the committees, even more than three months after the election of Sheh­baz Sharif as the prime minister.

Under the rules, the committees were required to be formed within 30 days after the prime minister’s el­­ection which took place on March 3.

The delay in the formation of the committees is not only a violation of the assembly rules, but it had also started affecting the legislative business.

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2024

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