Zoradri makes another attempt to become martyr........Jyala made NAB Chair?

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    ISLAMABAD: As the Supreme Court’s deadline for the appointment of NAB chairman was due to expire, President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday appointed Justice (retd) Syed Deedar Hussain Shah as the Chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) without reaching a consensus with the opposition.

    Justice (retd) Deedar Hussain Shah has been a loyal PPP Jiyala throughout his life, is a known friend of the Bhuttos, a controversial judge, and a poor performer against whom a complaint of corruption was also reportedly received by the then chief justice of the Sindh High Court but remained inconclusive, it was learnt.

    Sources in the government said it was President Asif Ali Zardari who made this controversial appointment despite Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s decision that after the rejection of Deedar Hussain’s name by the Leader of the Opposition, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, a meaningful consultation would be done to fill the post.

    On October 1, it was Prime Minister Gilani who had announced on the floor of the Upper House that under the law, the president had to consult the leaders of the House and the Opposition for appointment of the chairman NAB. He disclosed: “I, on behalf of the president, proposed two names of Mukhtar Junejo and Syed Deedar Ali Shah for this post to the opposition leader, who did not agree.”

    Gilani added that he believed in meaningful consultation and that was the reason he had approached the Supreme Court for more time for the appointment of the NAB chairman. However, the Friday’s appointment of the chairman of NAB was not made as per the commitment of the prime minister made in the Senate on October 1.

    Government sources insist that President Asif Ali Zardari did not want consent (approval) of the leader of opposition and decided to appoint his loyalist as the head of the NAB. These sources believe that the new chairman has been assigned to dilly dally the implementation of the Supreme Court’s decision on the NRO and the first signs of the new chairman’s subtle defiance would appear on Oct 13 when the NAB is supposed to produce before the apex court the required information about all foreign cases in different countries closed following the promulgation of the NRO, the money involved, the details of the accused and complete details of the NRO cases re-opened within Pakistan.

    Justice Deedar has been representing the PPP at local and district level politics of Larkana besides having been the party MPA twice before he was appointed a judge of the Sindh High Court by Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

    Justice Deedar and Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar were among the eight judges who were appointed by Benazir Bhutto during her second tenure. He served as a junior lawyer of Qaim Ali Shah, the incumbent chief minister of Sindh.

    Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmad, a former chief justice of the SHC, said Justice (retd) Deedar served as a judge of the SHC during his tenure. Justice Wajih said as a judge, Justice Deedar was a poor performer and was known for his political affiliation with the PPP.

    “He was not considered as a good judge,” Justice Wajih said, revealing that he had received a documented complaint from a citizen against Justice (retd) Deedar regarding alleged transfer of property in his name with wrongful means.

    He said that being the CJ of the SHC, he marked the same complaint to the then registrar of the SHC, Shabbir Ahmad, to send it to Deedar Hussain for his comments. But Wajih said Justice (retd) Deedar, who was later elevated to the Supreme Court, never replied to that property occupation charge.

    Justice Wajih insisted that the chairman of NAB was a quasi judicial appointment, which should be made strictly in accordance with the law after a consensus-oriented consultation as per the NAB Ordinance and the Al-Jihad Trust case judgment.

    According to Justice Wajih, the word ìconsultationî had been comprehensively discussed and defined in the historic Al-Jihad Trust case judgment. He said that this historic judgment discussed the word ìconsultationî wherever it was used in the Constitution or in any other law.

    He said this judgment separately defined the word of legal consultation and consultation in case of appointment of judges in superior judiciary. The word ìconsultationî wherever it was discussed in any law should be a ìmeaningful consultationî, which must be ìconsensus orientedî. He said that if one party to be consulted raised any objection, it would have to raise it with reasons. The consultation process, he explained, would continue till the time a consensus was achieved so that according to the spirit of the law, the obligations of consensus oriented consultation were achieved.

    He said if on the issue of legal consultation some differences of opinion emerged, the issue would be justiciable and would be decided by the court.

    This raises the prospect that the appointment of Justice Deedar may be challenged and may again go back to the Supreme Court for a decision but this will also give the government some more time to delay the implementation of the NRO judgment. A clear indication that it would be challenged was given by the Leader of the Opposition, Chudhry Nisar Ali Khan, on Friday.

    Asim Yasin adds: Presidential Spokesman Farhatullah Babar, while talking to The News on Friday, said: “Yes, President Asif Ali Zardari has signed the summary for the appointment of Justice (retd) Syed Deedar Ali Shah as the Chairman of the NAB.”

    Since the government and the opposition failed to reach a consensus on the name of the new NAB chairman during the deadline given by the Supreme Court, the government went ahead with the appointment of Justice (retd) Syed Deedar Hussain Shah.

    Justice Deedar was one of the two people whose names were sent to the Opposition Leader, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, by the office of Prime Minister Gilani but the former rejected his name on the basis that he was affiliated with the PPP and was elected Sindh Assembly member on the PPP ticket twice, in 1988-90 and 1990-93.

    He also remained the local party president in Bhutto familyís hometown — Rato Dero — during the tenure of former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

    The decision is bound to trigger a fierce debate and controversy as the government has apparently failed to engage the opposition in the process of consultation prior to the appointment of new chairman of NAB, which is mandatory under the Constitution.

    Justice (retd) Syed Deedar Hussain Shah had also remained Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court. When General (retd) Pervez Musharraf overthrew the government of Mian Nawaz Sharif and had the charges of hijacking a plane framed against him in the Sindh High Court, Justice Deedar was the chief justice, but before the start of the hearing of the case, he was elevated to the Supreme Court.