PM agrees to consult opposition leader in appointment of new NAB chief
LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan, after consultation with close legal aides, on Tuesday agreed to give extension to the incumbent chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal till the appointment of his successor, Bol News has learnt.
In a major policy shift by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI’s) federal government, the PM also agreed to consult with the Opposition Leader— PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif— for the appointment of the new NAB chief.
Federal Law Minister Farogh Naseem, after attending a high-powered committee meeting chaired by PM Imran Khan regarding the appointment and proposed extension of the incumbent head of NAB, disclosed that the premier has agreed to consult the Opposition Leader on the matter.
Sources in the federal capital told Bol News that Prime Minister Imran Khan has accepted the suggestion put forward by Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Kahlid Jawed Khan regarding amendments in the National Accountability Ordinance 1999. It has been decided that a new NAB chairperson will be appointed with the consultation of Shahbaz Sharif, the opposition leader in the National Assembly.
According to sources, the AGP has played a key role in convincing the prime minister to engage the Opposition Leader in the process of appointment of new chairman NAB.
The PM has also reportedly agreed with the AGP’s suggestion that the power to remove the NAB chief should rest with the Supreme Judicial Council, instead of his appointing authority which is the president.
Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal was appointed NAB chief in 2017 for a term of four years during the tenure of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government and his tenure was supposed to end on October 8.
It may be relevant to mention here that for the last several weeks, the PTI Government was claiming that Shahbaz Sharif wouldn’t be consulted for the appointment of new NAB chief, which otherwise, was mandatory as per law. The PTI ministers on number of occasions gave the reason that as Opposition Leader was facing graft cases, being probed by the Bureau, so how could he be consulted for this appointment [of new chairman].
According to sources, the Law Minister further said that the participants also agreed to a proposed draft, according to which, Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal will continue till the appointment of his successor. He said Shahbaz Sharif would also be consulted on the new draft being finalized for extension of the incumbent till the appointment of new head of the Bureau.
“If both, the PM and the Opposition Leader, didn’t develop a consensus to a name for the new chairman NAB than the matter will be referred to Parliamentary to choose the name.”
The law minister was of the view that the proposed draft for the Ordinance would be submitted to the PM tomorrow (Wednesday). After the approval of the federal cabinet, it is expected that President Dr Arif Alvi might issue the new NAB amended Ordinance on Wednesday to extend the tenure of Javed Iqbal as NAB chief till the appointment of his successor.
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