ISLAMABAD – Addressing the National Assembly today (Thursday), Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Prime Minister Imran Khan has conceded in the larger interest of democracy and parliamentary norms that the opposition can choose the Chairman of Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
He said the government with an open heart leaves this decision to Leader of the Opposition to nominate a person of his choice. But, if he deems himself appropriate for this role, then government will not have any objection on it.
He appreciated the gesture of Prime Minister Imran Khan who had a big heart to not make this issue dragging.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the constitution of House committees is a very important matter for parliament to function effectively. He said the matter is still stuck on the issue of appointment of Leader of the Opposition as Chairman Public Accounts Committee.
Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif is embroiled in cases of National Accountability Bureau and the cases were not filed by this government. Shah Mehmood Qureshi said despite this we have made every effort to resolve this impasse.
Referring to the issue of PML-N Member Khawaja Saad Rafique, the Foreign Minister said requesting production orders for an MNA is due right of opposition and we respect that. He said the production orders of Leader of the Opposition were also issued earlier. He said this House belongs to all political parties and everyone should play a part in keeping its sanctity.
The Minister said members of government and opposition are elected by votes of people and it is their obligation to take part in legislation to meet the expectations of those who have brought them to this august House.
He said working in the parliament requires political maturity on both sides of the aisles. Foreign Minister warned that if democracy is not allowed to run, then responsibility of its failure will fall on all of us. He offered the opposition to come forward and work collectively in the larger interest of the nation and democratic norms by not succumbing to personal and party interests.
OPPOSITION INSIST ON SHEHBAZ’S NAME
Earlier on Tuesday, all opposition parties in the National Assembly reaffirmed their demand that the chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) should be given to the leader of the opposition, PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif announced.
After a meeting of the joint opposition leadership, Shahbaz had informed journalists that the opposition parties had once again concluded that the opposition leader should become the PAC chairman, “which has been the tradition for the past 10 years”.
The opposition parties had devised an alternative to avoid this possible conflict of interest: He (Shahbaz) can be nominated as the PAC chairman, but he will not head meetings in which audit paras of the previous PML-N government are scrutinised. Instead, a sub-committee can be formed to examine matters related to the previous administration, and the PTI can nominate its own chairman for the sub-committee.