President Asif Ali Zardari caused controversy again on Sunday with his choice of retired Chief of Naval staff, Admiral Fasih Bokhari as the new National Accountability Bureau Chief. Fasih Bokhari served as Chief of Naval Staff of the Pakistan Navy from 1997 to 1999 and has since been rumoured to have some sort of involvement in the Agosta submarines scandal.
Major political parties of the country criticized the selection by Zardari, who is known to appoint his cronies, however corrupt, at important official positions. The previous NAB Chief appointed by Zardari, Syed Deedar Hussain Shah, was believed to be a People’s Party man through and through, resulting in much hue and cry being made after that appointment.
The matter ended up in the Supreme Court of Pakistan after the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, refused to endorse Deedar Hussain. Deedar Hussain was removed from his position by the apex court and no one has replaced him since.
The current proposed appointee is set to follow on the same path as the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz have already rejected Fasih, calling him a controversial appointment for such a high ranking and important post. Without Chaudhry Nisar’s blessing, legally, the appointment cannot be made.
According to the 18th amendment in the Constitution, the leader of the opposition must be consulted before making the official appointment. The measure was introduced so that only a non-political and well reputed individual could take the office.
“I wonder why President Zardari cannot find someone with undisputed character,” PML-N Secretary Information Senator Mushahidullah Khan told The Express Tribune. “If Bokhari is not directly involved, he is linked in some way to the Agosta submarines scandal,”
The matter is expected to light up the front pages for a while now as political agitation between the government and the opposition grows.