ISLAMABAD - Meeting between the Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif and Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah is on the cards and both the leaders could sit together in the next couple of days to discuss the appointment of new Chairman National Accountability Bureau and upcoming presidential elections.
Sources aware of the developments taking place on this front said that Leader of Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah would be arriving here on Monday while Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif would also be available in the federal capital in connection with his pressing engagements during the whole week including chairing of CCI meeting on Tuesday and federal cabinet meeting on July 25.
Sources further said that the slot of Chairman NAB has been vacant for quite sometime and under the NAB Ordinance 1999 it is mandatory for both Leader of House and Leader of Opposition to engage in meaningful consultation to arrive at some consensus candidate to be made the head of the ace accountability apparatus of the country.
Sources close to Pakistan People’s Party said that Shah would insist on the name of Justice (Retd) Rana Baghwandas despite the fact that he (Baghwandas) had already expressed his disinterest in the position, while Prime Minister Sharif would try to convince Shah to pick anyone of the two names proposed by the ruling party for the slot. The government had given the names of Kh Zaheer, a retired bureaucrat, and Justice (Retd) Rehmat Jaffery while Opposition had floated the names of Justice (Retd) Rana Baghwandas and Justice (Retd) Sardar Raza.
In case of disagreement between the Leader of House and Leader of Opposition on any single name out of these four, the matter would automatically be referred to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, who is arbitrator in the matter, and he would pick anyone of these four names for the slot of Chairman NAB.
It is pertinent to mention here that Chief Justice of Pakistan had re-invoked his role as arbitrator in the appointment of Chairman NAB while handing down judgement in the case of former chairman NAB Admiral (Retd) Fasih Bokhari, who was shunted out from the post by the apex court on the ground that meaningful consultation was not made with the then Leader of Opposition, who had challenged his appointment as unconstitutional.
Sources in the government said that Prime Minister Sharif wanted to settle the appointment issue of Chairman NAB at the level of consultation with Leader of Opposition Shah and could even show flexibility in the matter, in case Leader of Opposition would stick to the names given by him, as he does not want to give the impression that political leadership is incapable of resolving issues at political level.
On the issue of presidential election and having a consensus candidate for the slot, the sources in PPP said that they would not accept any of the nominees of the government and when Shah would meet the Prime Minister in a next few days he would persuade him to support the PPP candidate for the slot, Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, keeping in view his services for cause of democracy, especially the role he had played while heading the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms which had incorporated the 18th Constitutional Amendment in the constitution.
On the other hand, the sources in the ruling PML(Nawaz) said that they have lost hope of having consensus candidate for the slot of President of Pakistan and now the party was mainly focussed on evolving strategy to win the upcoming Presidential election with thumping majority.
These sources said that in the face of sharp divide in the opposition parties, which had brought three candidates for the Presidential elections ruling PML-N would face no difficulty and sail through the election comfortably.