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Shehbaz Sharif stepped down as chairman of PAC

03 May, 2019

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Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday stepped down as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The PML-N’s joint parliamentary party decided to nominate Rana Tanvir as the new head of the PAC after Shahbaz Sharif stepping down from the position. According to a statement released by the PML-N media cell, “Shahbaz was never keen to become PAC chairman and had only accepted the position on the insistence of joint opposition and parliamentary advisory group.” However, no reasons were given as to why he quit the coveted slot.

Meanwhile, Khawaja Asif was nominated as PML-N’s parliamentary leader. He was nominated parliamentary leader by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. “Khawaja Asif was made parliamentary leader on the request of Shehbaz Sharif,” Abbasi informed the party meeting. The PML-N parliamentary party was informed that under the current circumstances, Shehbaz Sharif felt that it was not right for him to continue with the chairmanship. The PML-N’s media cell elaborated that Shahbaz made the decision to relinquish the PAC and parliamentary leader’s roles after consultation with party supremo Nawaz Sharif. Khawaja Asif and Rana Tanvir were nominated for the positions of parliamentary leader and PAC chairman respectively by Nawaz Sharif, the statement added. The parliamentary party accepted both the nominations.

After the meeting, Kh Asif thanked Nawaz and Shehbaz for ‘trusting him’, adding that he will fulfill his responsibility to the best of his ability. He said the roles of PAC chairman, opposition leader and party’s parliamentary leader previously rested with Shahbaz but are now being ‘separated’ so that the party can work more ‘efficiently’. PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, meanwhile, rejected reports that Shehbaz Sharif has also relinquished the role of the leader of the opposition. Terming the reports as ‘baseless and mere rumours’, she maintained that Shehbaz continues to hold the position, adding that the joint opposition, under his leadership, will keep on playing its role in exposing the government’s inability and inefficiency.

The party, as per the procedure, will now have to write a letter to the National Assembly speaker regarding the change. The speaker’s office will then issue a notification about the appointment of the new PAC chairman. Kh Asif on Thursday said that Shehbaz has to stay in London due to ‘medical and family issues’, but added that the PML-N president will attend the budget session – which has yet to be called – in the National Assembly. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, meanwhile, said the PML-N’s decision to change PAC chairman has vindicated the stance of Prime Minister Imran Khan. “Democracy and corruption cannot run simultaneously,” she told a private news channel.

Dr Firdous said the PML-N has accepted the reality and time has now proved that the PTI stance of not handing over the PAC chairmanship to a tainted leadership was fully justified. She said had Shehbaz Sharif any plan to return to the country, he would not have appointed anyone else in his place. The PML-N leaders, she said, are trying to get an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance), but they have so far failed in this regard. “It is the PTI’s belief that the contradiction in the words and deeds of PML-N leadership will soon come to surface and now their duplicity has been exposed,” she added.

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