ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz having a clear majority in the National Assembly to clinch the coveted slot of Leader of Opposition is in a fix to pick between party chief Shehbaz Sharif and another party veteran Khawaja Mohammad Asif.

Sources aware of the deliberations on the issue informed The Nation that the party central leadership agreed to the point that the slot of Leader of Opposition would be retained by the PML-N and now the party was contemplating on the suitability of the candidature of Shehbaz Sharif and Kh Asif.

As the slot of Chairman Public Accounts Committee, sources said, would also go to the Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly by default so it would be a tedious and time-consuming engagement so the party was considering as to whom would be better for keeping the position.

Being the party head and with lot of other engagements, some senior PML-N leaders were of the view that Shehbaz Sharif would not be suitable for the position and instead Khawaja Asif would be nominated for the position as he could effectively manage it.

There was a proposal that Shehbaz Sharif would be the parliamentary head of the party in the lower house of the Parliament.

With other important decisions, the sources said, the Multi Party Conference (MPC) may also announce the name for the opposition leader in the National Assembly in its joint declaration.

The two former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif had signed a charter of democracy (CoD) in May 2006. The CoD with other important decisions also decided to give slot of Chairman PAC to Leader of Opposition. This clause mentioned in the CoD was respected in the tenure of previous National Assembly.

In the selection of the leader of opposition, the sources said, both the major parties (PML-N and PPP-P) will also deliberate about this important matter directly linked with the CoD.

As the clause related to leader of opposition in the National Assembly, according to the CoD, would bind him to also head the Public Accounts Committee.

According to the history of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in the country, the second PAC was chaired by Ghayasuddin Pathan, (MoS for Finance) in 1951, the third PAC was chaired Mohammad Ali, Finance Minister in 1953, the fourth PAC was chaired Syed Amjad Ali, Finance Minister in 1956, the fifth PAC was chaired by Mohammad Shoaib, Finance Minister in 1960, the sixth PAC was chaired by Noor-ul-Amin in 1965.

The second, third, fourth and fifth ad-hoc PAC committees were headed by Noor-ul-Amin, Muzaffar Ali Qizilbash, Mubashir Hassan, Hanif Khan, AGN Kazi and others.  While the rest of the PAC committees were chaired by Sahibzada M Ali Shah, Hakim Ali Zardari, M Hamza, Rao M Hashim Khan, HU Beg, Malik Allah Yar Khan, Ch Nisar Ali Khan, Nadeem Afzal Gondal. Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah was the leader of opposition in the 14th National Assembly.

As the PAC chief slot automatically goes to Opp Leader it will be a tedious and time-consuming engagement so party is considering as to whom
to give the position