- PPP leader Faisal Karim considers offer to Bilawal an attempt to ‘divide’ opposition
- Govt refutes claim, says Bilawal not offered PAC chairmanship
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday dismissed the proposal to appoint Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and former foreign minister Khawaja Asif as the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman, a private media outlet reported.
Expressing disapproval over Khawaja Asif’s name, the PM questioned how could the government appoint a person involved in money laundering in such an important public office?
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) parliamentary party earlier on the same day had held a consultative meeting with PM Imran Khan and mulled over the appointment of PAC chairman.
According to the media reports, both Pakistan People’ss Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s and Khawaja Asif’s names came under discussion for the key slot.
On the other hand, PPP leader and former National Assembly (NA) deputy speaker Faisal Karim Kundi claimed that his party chairman Bilawal Bhutto thwarted the effort of the ‘selected’ government to divide the opposition after turning down the offer to take the reins of PAC.
Kundi on Twitter wrote, “Once again, PPP chairman [Bilawal Bhutto Zardari] has shown political maturity and refused to accept the chairmanship of PAC in the parliament.”
GOVT SAYS BILAWAL NOT OFFERED:
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry later refuted the claim that Bilawal was offered the chairmanship the PAC.
In a statement issued, the info minister said that Bilawal’s name, among some other candidates for the post, had surfaced during informal deliberations. “We don’t have any objection on anyone including Bilawal becoming the PAC chairman,” he said.
He stated that it is the PTI prerogative to audit projects initiated during the PML-N tenure, adding that the opposition can appoint its own chairman to audit projects launched by the current government later on.
Historically, the PAC has remained under the control of the opposition to keep a check on the government, however, the PTI government had been considering drifting away from the tradition by retaining the position itself, claiming that the committee under a PML-N leader’s chairmanship may not carry out an audit of the revenue and expenditures of the previous government.
The PML-N, which is the largest opposition party in the National Assembly, had nominated its president Shehbaz Sharif for the role.
In protest against being denied the PAC chair’s role, the PML-N had reportedly even considered withdrawing from all parliamentary committees.
It is pertinent to mention here that the PTI government had decided to take opposition into confidence over the appointment of PAC chairman and PM Imran, during a parliamentary board meeting of his party, gave green signal to contact with the opposition on the issue.