The government has appointed Justice (retd) Deedar Hussain Shah the Chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), but instead of damping down the fires that surrounded the appointment after the Supreme Court ordered the previous holder of the office removed, the appointment has provoked a fresh controversy. The appointment provoked a writ petition to the Lahore High Court on Saturday, apart from the earlier complaint by the Leader of the Opposition that he had not been properly consulted by the Prime Minister over the appointment. Mr Justice (retd) Shah, formerly of the Supreme Court, had been twice elected as MPA on the PPP ticket before being elevated to the Sindh High Court, where he became Chief Justice before his further elevation to the Supreme Court, which was the main ground of objection of the Opposition Leader. The Supreme Court wants the NAB Chairman appointed so that it can proceed with the cases against NRO beneficiaries. The first task of the new Chairman would be the production of lists before the Supreme Court of all foreign cases in different countries closed following the promulgation of the NRO, the money involved, the details of the accused and complete details of the NRO cases re-opened within Pakistan. As this would involve the President and the Swiss cases against him, the Chairmanship of NAB has assumed a pivotal significance. Mr Justice (retd) Shah was not only a former PPP MPA, but belongs to the home district of the murdered PPP chief of Larkana. The Leader of the Opposition would be almost certain to object to the appointment. As the appointment has been taken to the courts, it seems that they will now have to decide the nature of the consultation that must take place between the PM and Leader of the Opposition, apart from the consultation with the Chief Justice of Pakistan. The judges case has an indication, in that it examined the consultation carried out by the PM and the Chief Justice over appointments to the superior judiciary. It appears that this issue of consultation will determine the outcome of the case. It seems that the governments overwhelming desire to avoid the President having to face the cases against him has led to this decision to avoid obeying the Supreme Court in letter and in spirit, and instead to have the present incumbent save him. However, the transparency of the move may well prove to be self-defeating, as the Supreme Court does not intend to be defied, and will ensure that the peoples hard-earned wealth is returned to them. It will also ensure that its verdicts are honoured by all state authorities.