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February 11, 2019

Members can’t remove PAC chairman: ex-speaker

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February 11, 2019

ByMuhammad Saleh Zaafir

ISLAMABAD: The former National Assembly speaker, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, has made it clear that in the absence of any laid down procedure for ousting chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), it would not be possible for the members to remove chairman of the committee.

The rules of business of the National Assembly don’t contain any laid down procedure for the no confidence against the chairman of any committee. He has maintained that no federal minister could become member of PAC while retaining the ministry as it has been the practice since 2002. In a brief chat with The News from Lahore Sunday evening, he said that once a member is designated by a party to be member of PAC, he couldn’t be removed by the party or even the National Assembly speaker.

The member could quit with his free will by giving it in writing. He disclosed that no rules of procedure are available for the no trust motion against the chairman of any committee, including PAC, that too regulated through the rules applicable on other committees. Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, who was elected National Assembly speaker twice during the previous tenure of the House reminded that PTI approached him after its sit-in when some members of the National Assembly belonging to the PTI deserted it and the party wanted to remove them from the committee’s chairmanship.

“I checked from the secretariat’s relevant branch and concluded that the members of the committee could vote any chairman out of the office, but, incidentally, no rule existed at that point in time and for the reason no PTI chairman of the committees could be removed. He reminded that a dignified chairman of the committee Late Gulzar Khan from Peshawar had offered voluntarily to quit the office but again it was his own decision on the basis of principles.

Sardar Ayaz Sadiq recalled that he told the PTI leaders that no member or chairman could be removed from their respective committee on their demand. To a query, he said that a member of the National Assembly could become member of the committee once his name is proposed by his party through the chief whip provided that party had prerogative to become the member on the basis of his party’s strength.

Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said that if any attempt is made to remove chairman of any committee, it would be for first place agitated in the two Houses of Parliament since PAC represents the whole Parliament. Other forums also could be availed with later. “A bulldozing ouster of chairman of any committee would be a defeat of Parliament and its traditions.” He said that if a member/ chairman of a committee is questioned due to the reasons of mere allegations than hardly any member of the PTI could retain the membership of any committee.

He reminded that criterion to be chairman of any committee, including PAC, that one should be member of the National Assembly. “As long a member of the National Assembly continues to be member of the House, it would be frivolous to challenge his qualification as member of any committee or its chairman,” the former Speaker National Assembly added.

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