ISLAMABAD - With the rejection of fresh name proposed by Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif for the slot of Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the government and opposition are once again standing in the blind alley and the chances of Chief Justice of Pakistan’s intervention in breaking the stalemate on this important issue seems imminent.
Sources in Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) informed The Nation that the name of Justice (Retd) Ijaz Chaudhry presented by Prime Minister Sharif before his departure for the United States was rejected by Leader of Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah for his strong and intimate ties with the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz).
Earlier during his meeting with the Premier, the Leader of Opposition had floated the name of Justice (Retd) Mian Mohammad Ajmal for the coveted slot of Chairman NAB but a day later in their second meeting at breakfast Mian Nawaz Sharif turned down the name taking the plea that he (Mian Mohammad Ajmal) was federal secretary law when November 3, 2007 emergency was clamped by Gen Musharraf and the judges of superior courts were detained and hence he had become the part of the ugly episode.
The sources in the PPPP further informed that Khursheed Shah had attempted to contact Federal Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar, playing the role of sheet anchor for the party, but could not contact him on this important matter.
The sources in the PPPP further informed that now Shah would meet Prime Minister Sharif on his return from the US visit and try to allay his reservations about Justice (Retd) Mian Mohammad Ajmal, as according to Shah, Justice (Retd) Ajmal had not signed any summary to place the judges of superior judiciary under detention, as immediately after clamping of emergency on November 3, 2007 he (Ajmal) went on leave.
Meanwhile in another development Shah in an attempt to put moral pressure on Prime Minister Sharif would be calling the meeting of other opposition parties in the Parliament in a next couple of days to win over their support for their nominated candidate for the slot of chairman NAB.
Legal and constitutional experts commenting on this deadlock like situation over the appointment of chairman NAB between the Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition said that now both of them are left with little choice and they have to select one person from the list of four floated by them, otherwise in the light of Supreme Court of Pakistan’s judgement in former Chairman NAB Admiral (Retd) Fasih Bokhari’s removal case, the Chief Justice of Pakistan was authorised to intervene in the matter to break the impasse.
Initially the Prime Minister had given the names of Kh Zaheer and Justice (Retd) Rehmat Jafferi while Shah had floated the names of Justice (Retd) Rana Baghwandas and Justice (Retd) Sardar Raza Khan. But the process of consultation could not proceed further because Kh Zaheer and Justice (Retd) Rana Baghwandas had expressed their inability to take the responsibility even if picked with consensus by treasury and opposition.
Later both the sides agreed to come up with fresh names for consultation and Leader of Opposition came up with a name of Justice (Retd) Ajmal and Prime Minister had proposed the name of Justice (Retd) Ijaz Chaudhry but once again both sides had raised objections on these names bringing back the whole exercise to naught.
While striking down the appointment of former Chairman NAB Admiral (Retd) Fasih Bokhari as unconstitutional on the petition of the then Leader of Opposition Ch Nisar Ali Khan, the five-member apex court bench explicitly written in its detailed judgement that in case of deadlock between the opposition leader and prime minister in picking the person for the ace accountability department of the country then Chief Justice of Pakistan may enter the consultation process with good faith to break the impasse and let the process roll on.
Now in the given situation in case both the Leader of Opposition and Prime Minister would continue to stick to their guns then Chief Justice of Pakistan would have to intervene in the process to let the things move on as three months have passed after the removal of the former chairman NAB Admiral (Retd) Fasih Bokhari and the ace accountability apparatus of the country is virtually at grinding halt.