KARACHI - While announcing boycott of elections for standing committees of the Sindh Assembly scheduled to be held on March 20, the joint opposition threatened protest in and outside the assembly against the provincial government denial to give chairmanship Public Accounts Committee to the opposition.

“We are also quitting all select committees and other committees of the assembly until the government accepts our demand for PAC chairmanship,” declared leader of the opposition in Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi while addressing a press conference at Karachi Press Club here on Monday.

Other parliamentary leaders of joint opposition parties including Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) were also present on the occasion.

Unveiling the opposition line of action, Mr Naqvi informed that as soon as the government forms standing committees through a “so-called democratic process,” they would announce a shadow cabinet comprising members of the joint opposition parties, which would work parallel to these standing committees.

Naqvi addresses press conference in English in an apparent reference to Bilawal’s speeches

Speaking in English during the press conference to address diplomats and foreign ambassadors in response to Bilawal’s speeches internationally, the opposition leader blamed that the PPPP has subverted the democracy and is killing the established democratic norms under which opposition is entitled to PAC chairmanship to carry out accountability of the government.

“We will not concede the PAC chairmanship to treasury,” he vowed, adding that audit reports of the past 10 years stand testimony to the fact that no action was taken against corrupt officials despite over Rs 970 billion irregularities because the PAC chairmanship was in the hands of the treasury.

He blamed adviser to CM on Information Murtaza Wahab for spreading lies on behalf of the chief minister and the PPP leadership. “If he asks us to sign charter of democracy for PAC chairmanship, then we are ready to sign its clause pertaining to PAC chairmanship,” he offered and added that they would not sign the entire document due to their differences over some issues.

He further offered that if opposition wants PAC chairmanship in KPK then they are ready to amend rules of the KPK assembly with their consultation. “Even the existing laws that assign KP assembly speaker the responsibility to be the PAC chairman were framed in PPP tenure in 1988,” he recalled.

While talking jibe at the PPPP leadership for taking pride in going to prison and terming it their second home, the opposite leader said that they were not going to prison for defending human rights instead it was their irregularities during government tenures that has led to criminal proceedings against them.

“On one hand they are running campaign in the province to safeguard looters while on the other, we will be running campaign to expose them,” he pointed out, adding that now it is up to the masses to decide on as to which side they are stand with.

He blamed the government for running longest session of the assembly which also included a first ever adjournment in proceedings of house for 10 days rather than proroguing the session. “The session from January till now has only created a burden on provincial exchequer as it failed to resolve issues of the common man or carryout legislation on the matters,” he criticised.

Speaking on the occasion, MQM-P lawmaker Muhammad Hussain warned that the government should not take opposition protest on lighter note because if their demands are not met then they would stage protest in and outside the assembly.

“Even the masses could besiege the assembly which has failed to resolve their issues despite continuous sittings,” he said.