ISLAMABAD  -    The government and the opposition are fast heading towards another controversy over the PAC chairmanship, as the former in yesterday’s National Assembly session refused to accept PML-N proposed Rana Tanveer Hussain as the new PAC chairman.

The house, in first dialogue-cum-verbal brawl session, witnessed exchange of heated remarks between treasury and opposition lawmakers over the matter about chairmanship of main parliamentary accountability body (PAC).

The appointment of PAC chairman had earlier remained bone of contention, as till the appointment of Shehbaz Sharif [as chairman PAC] not even a single standing committee of any ministry was formed in the first five months.

The PML-N, main opposition party, had announced to nominate Rana Tanveer as chairman PAC.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, on a point of order, asked the PML-N leadership to take other opposition parties into confidence over the decision.

“The appointment of chairman of an important constitutional committee in this way is not acceptable to us (government),” said Qureshi, inviting strong criticism from PML-N lawmakers. PML-N MNA Rana Sanaullah meanwhile started interrupting him and asked the chair to give him the floor first to speak on this matter.

However, Qureshi, ignoring the interruption from PML-N, said the appointment of PAC chairman was resolved with wisdom of the speaker and others also played their role.

Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif had recently decided to quit without taking other opposition parties into confidence.

The minister said the opposition leader himself decided to resign as the PAC chairman and nominated Rana Tanveer in his place. “PML-N had not consulted PPP-P and MMA before announcing its decision,” he said mentioning that PPP-P Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zaardari had also expressed his concerns.

“Shehbaz transferred PAC chairmanship the same way the inherited property is transferred. According to the Charter of the Democracy (CoD), PAC chairmanship is given to opposition leader but Shehbaz himself acted against spirit of the CoD,” said Qureshi.

Rana Sanaullah, responding to the foreign minister, remarked that Qureshi was speaking on mere assumptions as Shehbaz Sharif was yet to tender his resignation as the PAC chairman. “Have you received resignation of Shehbaz as chairman PAC,” Rana Sanaullah asked the chair. On that, Speaker Asad Qaisar said he had not received any resignation from Shehbaz Sharif. However, there were some media reports in this connection.

Rana didn’t hesitate to ask from Qureshi as to who told him that Shehbaz was sick. “Did Shehbaz make a telephone call to you [Qureshi] to tell you that he is sick,” he asked.

He further said that the PML-N would consult opposition parties first and then the government.