News Desk |
The government and the opposition on Thursday reached a breakthrough over the appointment of Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif as chairman of the all-powerful Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly.
Minister for Defense Pervez Khattak told the media after his meeting with the opposition leader that the government had agreed on Shahbaz’s name as the PAC chairman. Khattak, however, added that Shahbaz would not preside over the audit reviews of matters pertaining to the last PML-N government. “A sub-committee, which would be headed by the PTI, would be formed for audit reviews of the projects and matters related to the previous PML-N government,” the defense minister said.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary had earlier stated that making Shahbaz Sharif the PAC chairman would be like letting a cat watch over milk.
The deadlock between the government and the opposition over the appointment of the PAC chairman had persisted for the past few months. While the opposition insisted on Shahbaz’s name in line with the ‘parliamentary tradition’, the government maintained that it could not allow Shahbaz to preside over audit reviews of the projects of his own party’s government.
Leaders of the opposition parties had met in the Parliament House on Tuesday and reaffirmed their demand that the PAC chairmanship be given to the leader of the opposition as had been the tradition for the past 10 years. National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser had also called a meeting of the opposition leaders and the government ministers to find ways to break the deadlock and pave way for the resumption of the legislative business on Wednesday.
The impasse over the PAC chairmanship had been hampering the legislative business in the lower house as the speaker had to stop the process of formation of the standing committees after the opposition threatened to boycott all the committees if the PAC chairmanship was not given to the opposition leader.
PTI has maintained that accountability process can’t be fair if Shahbaz Sharif becomes chairperson of public account committee. Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary had earlier stated that making Shahbaz Sharif the PAC chairman would be like letting a cat watch over milk.
The government was of the point that PMLN leader could not independently and fairly audit the project carried out by Nawaz Sharif during his government; hence the delay in appointment of chairperson PAC.
Now with the formation of the subcommittee, an audit of PMLN’s project, as the government wanted, will be done impartially. It is indeed a reasonable understanding of the government and opposition have reached to. Opposition leader chairs the audit reports of PTI-government and PTI’s sub-committee scrutinizes that of PMLN’s projects.