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Pak does an India: SC sacks anti-graft chief after Opp objects

What do India’s Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan have in common?

Written by Ruchika Talwar | New Delhi |
March 13, 2011 4:21:38 am

What do India’s Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan have in common? Besides the fact that they are both Leaders of Opposition in the lower House of their Parliaments,both initiated and catalysed the removal of heads of corruption watchdogs in their countries.

Days after P J Thomas’s appointment as Central Vigilance Comissioner (CVC) was set aside by the Supreme Court,Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday struck down the appointment of National Accountabilty Bureau (NAB) chief,Deedar Hussain Shah,PPP leader and friend of its founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

Speaking to The Sunday Express from Lahore,Khan,a senior PML-N leader,said that like the Thomas case,Shah had been appointed Pakistan’s top anti-corruption officer despite his objection.

“I had told Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani more than once that Shah’s name doesn’t suit the post of the NAB chief because he has twice been elected to the Sindh Assembly on a PPP. An ex-legislator cannot fill that post by law. His loyalty to the party cannot be ruled out,and this is not healthy for institution of the NAB,” Khan said.

“They ignored my advice while appointing the NAB chief. Then I,along with journalist Shahid Orakzai,went to court and challenged Shah’s appointment in September 2010. On Thursday,the court declared his appointment ultra vires and here we are,” Khan said.

The NAB Ordinance states that there has to be consent between the government and Leader of Opposition while appointing the NAB chief.

Reactions to the exits have been different in the two countries. While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh owned responsibility for Thomas’s appointment,the PPP called for a Karachi shutdown to protest the verdict.

“I have been following the case in India,though infrequently,and have no second thoughts about the maturity of your Parliamentary democracy. I am going to hold a news conference and quote both Sardar Manmohan Singh and Sushmaji. The similarity of both the cases shows that we need to learn from you,” Khan said.

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