The outgoing chief minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and the opposition in leader in the dissolved provincial assembly agreed to appoint former bureaucrat Azam Khan as the caretaker chief minister.

However, efforts for consensus on name of caretaker Punjab chief minister remained deadlocked almost a week after the dissolution of the assembly. On Friday, a parliamentary committee, formed for the purpose, could not agree on a candidate and now the matter would go to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

However, the name of Azam Khan was announced in a joint press conference by Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and opposition leader Akram Durrani in Peshawar.

“We decided on Azam Khan’s name after consultation with our leader,” Chief Minister Mahmood Khan said.

“We agreed on Azam Khan as our consensus candidate. We have chosen a person who is acceptable to all,” said Durrani.

Both Mahamood and Durrani said that the summary for the appointment of Azam Khan as the caretaker chief minister had been sent to Governor Haji Ghulam Ali, adding that the summary was signed by the outgoing chief minister and the leader of the opposition.

Azam has previously served as K-P finance minister from October 24, 2007 to April 1, 2008. He was the secretary of ministry of petroleum and natural resources in Islamabad and the chief secretary in K-P from September 1990 to July 1993.

PUNJAB: On the other hand, the parliamentary committee formed by Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan could not agree on a candidate for the appointment as the caretaker chief minister and now the matter would be referred to the ECP.

A meeting of the six-member committee, comprising three members each from the treasury and the opposition benches, was held under the chairmanship of Sibtain Khan. Former minister Raja Basharat, Mian Aslam Iqbal and Hashim Jawan Bakht represented the outgoing government.

The opposition was represented by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) parliamentary leader in the dissolved assembly Syed Hassan Murtaza and Malik Nadeem Kamran.

During the meeting, the opposition insisted on the names of two of its candidates – Mohsin Naqvi and Ahad Cheema – whereas the government members did not budge from their demand for appointing one of their nominees – Ahmed Sukhera and Naved Akram Cheema – as the caretaker chief minister.

Talking to the reporters in Islamabad after the meeting, Basharat said the names proposed by the PTI were better than those forwarded by the opposition from “every angle”. He warned that the PTI-PML-Q alliance would use all options, including court if a “controversial person” was chosen for the post.

The opposition’s Kamran said the names proposed by the PTI-PML-Q alliance were not “eligible” otherwise a debate could still have been held. He lashed out at former chief minister Parvez Elahi, who said he would approach the Supreme Court if the matter went to the ECP.

This statement showed a “lack of confidence in the committee”, Kamran said.

The ECP will not appoint anyone except those whose names were provided by both the sides. As per the Constitution, the ECP would have to appoint a caretaker chief minister within 48 hours.

The process to install a caretaker set-up in Punjab was set in motion on Saturday after the provincial assembly was allowed to dissolve automatically as Governor Balighur Rehman refrained from giving his assent to CM Elahi’s dissolution advice.

Following the dissolution of the Punjab Assembly, Rehman sent letters to Elahi and Leader of the Opposition Hamza Shehbaz for the appointment of a consensus caretaker chief minister.


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