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President of Pakistan sticks to stand on Bokhari as National Accountability Bureau chairman

Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari has thanked the Opposition Leader “for taking part in the consultative process, as mandated by law” in the nomination of Admiral ® Fasih Bokhari as Chairman NAB and expressed the hope that the nominee “would serve the institution in the best manner”.

Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar said that the President said this in a letter sent to the Opposition Leader Saturday night. The letter made it clear that the name of Fasih Bokhari had been proposed in accordance with the provisions of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 the “existing law at the point of time” and that the Leader of the House had also concurred to the proposal, he said.

The President also pointed out that the Opposition Leader had offered no comments “on the profile and integrity of the nominee, which in fact is the material aspect of the consultation”.

Farhatullah Babar said that the President referred to clause (ba) of section 6 of the NAB Ordinance and said that the existing provisions of law had been strictly followed and there was no deviation from the existing legislation in any manner.

He said that section 6 clause (ba) reads as under:

“A person shall not be appointed as Chairman NAB unless he:-

(i) is a retired Chief Justice or Judge or the Supreme Court, or a Chief Justice of a High Court; or

(ii) is a retired officer of the Armed Forces of Pakistan equivalent to the rank of a Lieutenant General; or

(iii) is a retired Federal Government Officer in BPS-22 or equivalent”.

The President said that the proposed nominee falls under sub-clause (ii) of clause (ba) of section 6 of the aforesaid Ordinance.

Farhatullah Babar said that President rejected the suggestion by Opposition Leader that a panel of names be sent to him for consultation saying that the suggestion was devoid of any legal basis.

Instead the President informed the Opposition Leader that “meaningful consultation can be done even on a single person and for that purpose you are taken on board quite candidly”, Farhatullah Babar said

“I have consulted the Leader of the House in the National Assembly on the subject who has concurred to the proposal”, the President further said.

Referring to the implementation of superior courts verdicts mentioned in the letter of Opposition Leader the President said that a bill was already pending in the Parliament.

“In order to implement the judgments of the superior courts referred to in your letter a bill is proposed by the Federal Government and is pending in the Parliament wherein process of consideration of the bill by Members of the Parliament is taking place”, the President’s letter said.

Following is the text of the President’s letter to Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan

With reference to your letter dated the 13th October, 2011 containing some points regarding the appointment of Chairman, National Accountability Bureau, I wish to draw your attention to a self-explanatory section 6(b) of National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, reproduced hereinafter for ready reference:-

“6. There shall be constituted a National Accountability Bureau for the whole of Pakistan.

b) Chairman, National Accountability Bureau;

(i) There shall be a Chairman NAB to be appointed by the President in consultation with the Leader of the House and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly for a non extendable period of four years on such terms and conditions as may be determined by the President and shall not be removed except on the grounds of removal of Judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan:

Provided that the present incumbent of the office of Chairman, NAB shall complete the period of four years from the date of his initial appointment.

(ii) The Chairman NAB may, in writing under his hand, address to the President, resign his office.

(ba) A person shall not be appointed as Chairman NAB unless he:-

(i) is a retired Chief Justice or Judge or the Supreme Court, or a Chief Justice of a High Court; or

(ii) is a retired officer of the Armed Forces of Pakistan equivalent to the rank of a Lieutenant General; or

(iii) is a retired Federal Government Officer in BPS-22 or equivalent”.

The existing provisions of law have been strictly followed and adhered to and the proposed nominee falls under sub-clause (ii) of clause (ba) of section 6 of the aforesaid Ordinance. There is no deviation from the existing legislation, in any manner.

The sense of various judgments of the superior courts is that the consultation shall be meaningful and for this purpose there is no necessity of sending a panel of nominees. Therefore meaningful consultation can be done even on a single person and for that purpose you are taken on board quite candidly.

Sending of a panel for consultation does not have any legal cover as well, there being no legal requirement as such. I have consulted the Leader of the House in the National Assembly on the subject who has concurred to the proposal.

In order to implement the judgments of the superior courts referred to in your letter a bill is proposed by the Federal Government and is pending in the Parliament wherein process of consideration of the bill by Members of the Parliament is taking place.

Therefore in the existing legal parlance the name of proposed nominee is proposed in line with the provisions of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 which is existing law at the point of time.

It is pertinent to mention here that no comments have been given on the profile and integrity of the nominee, which in fact is the material aspect of the consultation.

In the light of the afore going lego-factual position, it is expected that the nominee would serve the institution in the best manner. I take this opportunity to thank you for taking part in the consultative process, as mandated by law.

For more information, contact:
Haji Ahmed Malik
Principal Information Officer
Press Information Department (PID)
Tel: +9251 925 2323 and +9251 925 2324
Fax: +9251 925 2325 and +9251 925 2326
Email: piopid@gmail.com

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