ISLAMABAD - PML-N’s central leader Ahsan Iqbal has said that his party would stay away from the parliamentary legislative bodies of the National Assembly if the government denied PAC chairmanship to Shehbaz Sharif.

“The PML-N lawmakers would not sit in any standing committee of the National Assembly if the government side would violate the CoD regarding the top slot of PAC,” PML-N’s central leader and former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal said this in an exclusive chat with The Nation.

The federal government has completed over two months of its tenure yet the matter regarding the formation of the standing committees is hanging in the balance.

The matter regarding formation of the standing committees could not be resolved, as the PML-N has so far not budged an inch from its stance regarding the top slot of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC). 

Ahsan Iqbal said: “The chairmanship of the PAC is the right of the opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif under the CoD signed in 2006”.

The PML-N MNAs would prefer not to become part of any standing committee of the lower house of the parliament. “Come what may, the opposition (PML-N) would not bow down on this matter,” the former minister said, mentioning they would not change their stance at any cost on this matter.

On the other hands, the speaker office has several times asked the main opposition to cooperate with the National Assembly Secretariat by sharing names of their legislators to properly form the body.

The Speaker National Assembly has also conveyed to the PML-N to sit with him to decide the important pending matter.When contacted, DGPR National Assembly Mohsin Iqbal confirmed that the matter regarding the formation of standing committees has not been resolved as yet.  The opposition side (PML-N) has still not shared names for their representation in the standing committees, he said.

Parliamentary sources said that the National Assembly speaker office is conveying messages to the PML-N’s senior members to hold a meeting to resolve the issue as early as possible.

The deadline, according to the rules and procedures and conduct of the business, has been expired on September 18.

The previous National Assembly had also failed to form the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and other committees in the given time period.

Members of the committees, according to the rules and regulations, are to be elected by the assembly within 30 days after election of the Leader of the House (Prime Minister).  Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan was formally elected country’s 22nd prime minister on August 17 (Friday).

The standing committees deal with the matters mainly referred by the lower house. These committees after thorough deliberations share its recommendations with the house for proper legislation.

There is a standing committee for each ministry in addition to the standing committee on public accounts, standing committee on rules of procedure and privileges, standing committee on house and library and standing committee on government assurance and business advisory.

According to the rules, each committee shall comprise not more than 20 members to be elected by the National Assembly while a lawmaker can become a member of multiple committees.

With other important matters, the legislation to allow the prime minister to answer parliamentarians’ question every fortnight is pending as the standing committees have not been formed. The National Assembly had decided to resolve the matter in the parliamentary committee when the government side moved a motion in this regard.