- Says govt open for consultation with the opposition, but will not consult with Shehbaz Sharif
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said on Wednesday that Prime Minister Imran Khan will not consult with Shehbaz Sharif, leader of the opposition, over the appointment of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman.
"If Shehbaz Sharif had a degree of shame, he would resign as opposition leader himself," Fawad said while addressing a briefing at the Press Information Department in Islamabad.
“I speak for Prime Minister,” Fawad said to make his point. "We are willing for a consultation with the opposition, but will not consult with Shehbaz Sharif."
"If the opposition wants us to consult with the leader of the opposition, they [opposition] should change the leader of the opposition," he emphasized.
Explaining the reason for the government's decision to not consult Shehbaz Sharif, he said "How is it possible that a person who is accused in the NAB is asking for consultation over the appointment of NAB chairman?"
He added that if the opposition has any suggestions regarding the NAB ordinance, "we are willing to discuss them".
Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem, who also accompanied Fawad in the presser, said that the ordinance related to the NAB chairman’s extension does not just cover the issue of the NAB chairman’s tenure.
The aim is to strengthen the NAB as an institution and make its work more focused, he said.
Fawad, in his comments, said that the changes proposed in the ordinance make sure that NAB focuses more on big corruption issues.
Meanwhile, the PPP has decided to strongly oppose the extension of the NAB chairman through an ordinance. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had said that his party would “forcefully oppose” the “illegal extension” in the tenure of the NAB chief.
Bilawal maintained that the law specifies that the tenure may not be extended.
He added that even if an extension was attempted for the incumbent NAB chairperson, it would prove his party’s position that the NAB is “an extension” of the PTI government and “not impartial”.