ISLAMABAD - Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah Tuesday criticised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over what he said was a delay in appointing the new army chief, with General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani set to retire on Nov 28.

Talking to media, Shah said the appointment of new army chief should have been finalised a month ago, adding that it was not appropriate to delay the matter.

Furthermore, the opposition leader advised the premier to not ignore the aspect of seniority in the process of choosing a new chief of the armed forces.

He also emphasised early appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner. He said the government should focus its attention on strengthening of parliament.

Separately, Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage said on Tuesday the Constitution would be followed on the appointment of new Chief Justice of Pakistan, Chairman Joint Chiefs of the Staff Committee and Chief of the Army Staff. Talking to reporters after attending a meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting, he said the Constitution had given powers to the Prime Minister for such appointments, which would be exercised. Replying to a question regarding the reported task given to Maulana Fazlur Rehman for approaching Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, he said all patriotic persons would be welcomed for bringing the country out of the present quagmire. Pervez Rashid said some elements were encouraging “street power” to take on the “state power” which was not a good omen.

He said it was ironic such tactics were being used by those who had claimed to strengthen institutions after coming to power.

Meanwhile, PPP has nominated opposition leader Syed Khurshid Shah as Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman.

PPP had earlier given the name of Azra Afzal Palejo, sister of former president Asif Ali Zardari, for appointment as PAC chairman. However, the government had not agreed. Sources said that the final decision about the selection of Syed Khurshid Shah as PAC chairman had been conveyed to government. Talking to TheNation, spokesman for the opposition leader confirmed that government has been conveyed about the name of Mr Shah. "Speaker National Assembly (NA) will give issue a formal notification is this regard," he added. He said the committee meeting would also be expected by the second week of December for the election of this slot. The members of the 25-member committee have already been named and out of them, the PML-N has a major share as its ten members have been named as members. The PPP has got three members while the PTI and MQM have two members each. The PPP has named Dr Azra Fazal, Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah and Syed Naveed Qamar Shah as its members. Shah is not a member of the PAC, however, the NA speaker has the powers to change any member of the committee anytime.

The PML-N members of PAC include Raja Muhammad Javed Ikhlas, Malik Iqbal Mehdi Khan, Mian Abdul Manan, Junaid Anwaar Chaudhry, Ch Asadur Rehman, Mahmood Bashir Virk, Pervaiz Malik, Shaikh Rohail Asghar, Rana Afzaal Hussain, Sardar Ashiq Gopang and Dr. Darshan. PTI members are Shafqat Mahmood and Dr Arif Alvi. Others include Sheikh Rashid Ahmed from AML, Ch Pervaiz Elahi from PML-Q, Syed Kazim Ali Shah from PML-F, Sohail Mansoor Khwaja and Abdul Rashid Godil of the MQM, Mahmood Khan Achakzai from PkMAP and Shahida Akhtar Ali from the JUI-F. The finance minister would be ex-officio member.

It is learnt that for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s farewell dinner in honour of outgoing Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani on Wednesday (today), formal invitation letters have been dispatched to the heads of the armed forces, leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, leaders of various political parties and other high officials.