The two allies – PTI and PML-Q – revealed three names for the caretaker chief minister while Asif Ali Zardari and Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain discussed the caretaker setup in Punjab, as political manoeuvring is in full swing to control Punjab – country’s largest province around which the national politics revolves.
On Sunday, the outgoing chief minister, Parvez Elahi, told media after a meeting with PTI Chairman Imran Khan in Lahore that Cabinet Secretary Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera, former health minister Naseer Khan and ex-chief secretary Nasir Saeed Khosa were their nominees for the slot.
Later, Parvez, will remain to serve as Punjab’s chief minister until the name for the caretaker CM is finalised, said in a tweet, “We are sending these names to the [Punjab] governor and if the opposition thinks broadly, the agreement upon the suggested names seems likely.”
Now, these names will be discussed with Hamza Shehbaz, the opposition leader in the erstwhile Punjab Assembly, for the appointment of a caretaker chief minister in the province.
The inclusion of Sukhera in the panel has surprised many since he is still in service and has a couple of weeks to go till his retirement. He had earlier featured in the panel of candidates for the selection of Punjab chief secretary, but he withdrew his name on the plea that he would be retiring soon.
On the other hand, Naseer belongs to Narowal and has served as the federal health minister as well as a former WHO head (health). Khosa is a former bureaucrat and has served as the Punjab chief secretary.
Punjab Governor Baligh-ur-Rehman has already written separate letters to CM Elahi and outgoing opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz to mutually decide a candidate to propose for appointment as the caretaker CM within three days. Both the leaders have till Tuesday evening to discuss and decide a name.
Answering a question, Parvez, who will remain to serve as Punjab’s chief minister until the name for the caretaker CM is finalised, said he was not supposed to contact Hamza. Calling their candidates non-controversial, he added: “If the PML-N considers these three names sanely, I see a consensus developing on one of them.”
Answering another question about the prospects of the PML-Q’s merger into the PTI, he said his son Moonis Elahi also wanted both the parties to merge and go ahead in politics with a consensus. “Any such merger will strengthen the party,” he maintained.
Earlier on Saturday, Parvez said his party’s decision would surface after their consultative meeting scheduled to be held on Monday (today) to thrash out the proposal.
To another question about some PTI leaders’ resentment over a possible merger, the chief minister said it’s the PML-Q legislators who would face problems, not the PTI’s. “The PTI leaders and workers will feel that the PML-Q has strengthened them,” he added.
Fawad for non-controversial names
Earlier, PTI senior leader Fawad Chaudhry said the PML-N should propose a non-controversial nominee for the caretaker chief minister so a candidate could be finalised smoothly by Parvez and Hamza under Article 224 of the Constitution.
In case there was no consensus between the leaders, he said, both sides would forward two names each to a parliamentary committee. “If the committee also doesn’t reach a consensus candidate in the three days after that (Friday), the four names will be sent to the Election Commission of Pakistan that will then select a candidate as the caretaker chief minister,” the former minister said.
Zardari, Shujaat meeting
PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain on Sunday called on former president Asif Ali Zardari to discuss the formation of a caretaker setup in Punjab, as they examined the existing political circumstances in Punjab following the dissolution of the assembly. The two leaders also contacted senior PML-N leadership to discuss the matter.