–Info minister says NA Opp leader should refuse nomination on ‘moral grounds’
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Friday said that the opposition’s demand to appoint Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif as Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman was against moral norms.
While talking to reporters outside the Parliament House, Fawad said that Shehbaz will look into the projects undertaken by his brother and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif during his tenure, adding that it would be better if Shehbaz refuses to accept the chairmanship on “moral grounds”.
The minister further said that even though the government had conceded to the opposition’s demand to appoint Shehbaz as PAC chief, the opposition parties were still threatening the functionality of the National Assembly.
On Thursday, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) decided to backtrack from its earlier stance and agreed to let National Assembly Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif have the chairmanship of the PAC.
After a period of two months, the development came as a good news as the House had been rendered useless after the government and opposition had reached a deadlock over the formation of parliamentary committees, especially the PAC.
The argument floated by the PTI government against Shehbaz was: the NA opposition leader can’t head the apex parliamentary committee as he would be auditing his brother, ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s projects, besides he was also under scrutiny for alleged corruption.
After months of impasse, the government had extended an olive branch, saying Prime Minister Imran Khan had agreed that the opposition could appoint anyone for the chairmanship.
The breakthrough came as a result of a meeting between Shehbaz Sharif and PTI’s Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan and Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak.
During the meeting, it was decided that the NA opposition leader would chair the committee, while a subcommittee headed by a PTI lawmaker would handle audit matters related to the PML-N government.
‘LARGER INTEREST OF DEMOCRACY’:
Addressing the NA session, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood said the PM has reviewed his earlier decision and [now] if Shehbaz Sharif wants to head the PAC, the government will not create obstacles.
“In the larger interest of democracy and in order to make the parliament functional, we concede to the opposition’s demand,” he justified the government’s change of heart.
The move was welcomed by the opposition parties, who hailed the decision as a ‘positive U-turn’.
GOVT ENDORSES SCHOOL FEES CUT:
Meanwhile, Fawad Chaudhry endorsed the Supreme Court’s directives to reduce private schools fees, saying “schools are looting parents”.
The minister further said, “PTI is a political party of the working class and realises the financial problems of the masses along with Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar.”