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Pak opposition locks horns with Zardari over reappointment of 'annulled' NAB chief


March 22, 2011 - Islamabad

Leader of the Opposition in Pakistan's National Assembly (NA) Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has rejected President Asif Ali Zardari's proposal to reappoint Justice (retd) Deedar Hussain Shah as National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman.

"Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had already conveyed his opinion to the prime minister regarding the non-suitability of Justice (retd) Deedar Shah for the post of chairman and suggested that a panel of suitable candidates for the office of chairman be made and consultation process be adopted to ensure consensus," The Dawn quoted a letter signed by Nisar's secretary Muhammad Zameer, as saying.

Nisar had earlier said that he would not reply to Zardari's letter on the proposal till a detailed verdict by the Supreme court on his petition challenging Shah's reappointment, but sent his reply letter to the president a day before his address to a joint sitting of parliament.

Justice Shah is at the heart of a raging controversy between the federal government and the judiciary, with the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) protesting against the Supreme court verdict annulling his appointment as NAB Chairman.

"Leader of the opposition has the highest respect and regard for the august court, and is of the view that its order should have been accepted without any demand and another suitable person be appointed after a meaningful and consensus-oriented consultation with the leader of the opposition," the letter said.

Nisar said it was 'strange' that Zardari had again proposed the appointment of Justice Shah as NAB chairman without waiting for the court's detailed order.

"On the same day, the Sindh chapter of the Pakistan People's Party organised a province-wide protest against the order of the apex court, bringing it into hatred, ridicule and contempt and provoking a confrontation on a non-issue, viz that Justice Shah belongs to Sindh," the letter said.

"The tragic aspect of this unlawful protest, which has made Justice Shah even more controversial, is that it resulted in the death of a number of innocent citizens in Karachi," it added.

In response to Zardari's claim that PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif had commended the service of Deedar Shah as Sindh High Court Chief Justice, the opposition leader said: "Reliance on Mr Sharif's application in the Supreme court in a criminal appeal against an order of the SHC is entirely misplaced."

Meanwhile, the government is planning to replace the NAB, which was set up during the regime of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, with a National Accountability Commission by May 2011.

ANI

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