Pakistan’s politics and conflicts go hand in hand, whether it is legislation or important appointments, the tug-of-war between the government and the opposition always intensifies, and where the government refuses to bow to the opposition, the opposition is blunt.
The term of the chairman of the NAB in the country is coming to an end but due to the ongoing tension between the government and the opposition, the matter has become complicated and the government has decided to extend the term of Javed Iqbal through an ordinance instead of sitting with the opposition leader Has created a new controversy in the country.
Justice (R) Javed Iqbal
Senior Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal of the Supreme Court of Pakistan was appointed Chairman NAB in October 2017. The name of Justice (Retd) Javed Iqbal was given by the then-largest opposition party Pakistan Peoples Party while earlier NAB Chairman Qamar Zaman. Chaudhry was also named by the Pakistan People’s Party, which the government agreed to.
Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal has also been the head of the Osama bin Laden and Missing Persons Commission in Abbottabad, while lawyers have been ousted for joining the movement, which was restored by the PPP government in 2009. Appointment as Chairman NAB was approved during the tenure of former Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
Pakistan Peoples Party and PML-N Chairman NAB Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal have been accused of selected accountability at the behest of the government. The current government has seen a surge in NAB operations. However, during this process, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has been more inclined towards the opposition parties. There are grievances and now they are opposing the extension of their tenure.
Controversy over appointment of new chairman
According to the constitution, the prime minister is bound to consult with the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly for the appointment of Chairman NAB after the expiration of the term of Chairman NAB. However, Imran Khan is not ready to consult Shahbaz Sharif on this issue. There are named accused in the corruption references filed. That is why the government is now considering all the legal options for the appointment of the chairman of the NAB, including extending or re-appointing the current chairman.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have strongly objected to the extension of NAB chairman and rejected the government’s decision. There is clear flexibility and political observers believe that the opposition parties are not on the same page on the issue and it seems that the government will be able to take advantage of the ongoing tensions between the opposition and expand the NAB chairman.
Amendment to the Ordinance
Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry has said that the ordinance regarding extension of the term of Chairman National Accountability Bureau Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal has been completed. On the other hand, Law Minister Forough Naseem said that the government has prepared the draft ordinance within the ambit of the constitution and law, the opposition has no reason to object.
Since its inception, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has tried to run most of the affairs in the House through ordinances instead of legislating. Instead of taking the opposition along, the government is creating a new controversy by extending the term through an ordinance because the term of this ordinance will be short and the government will have to approach the House against its will while leaving the opposition through ordinances.
The effects of the decisions taken by the Taliban will give birth to negative traditions in Pakistan’s politics and will set a precedent for future governments to take decisions alone, leaving the opposition behind.