Outgoing govts, Opp agree to disagree over interim CMs

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–Issue likely to be decided by respective parliamentary committees as provincial govts and opposition fail to reach consensus

–PTI proposes names of Hassan Askari and Nasir Durrani for interim Punjab CM as ‘disheartened’ Khosa backs out after party’s U-turn

–PPP and MQM reportedly agree on former Sindh chief secretary Fazlur Rehman’s name for interim CM

 

LAHORE: Even though the federal government was able to evolve consensus on the nomination of a caretaker prime minister, almost all the provincial assemblies have failed to appoint respective caretaker chief ministers, with the matter likely to go in the hands of the parliamentary committees concerned.

If the parliamentary bodies fail to resolve these differences, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will be called up for the task.

The earlier nomination of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab interim CMs was a good omen for the democratic setup in the country; however, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) made about-turns and left both governments in a quandary.

With the exception of Balochistan, provincial legislatures of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa completed their terms on Monday, while the Punjab Assembly completed its term on Thursday midnight.

PUNJAB CARETAKER CM:

What seemed like an amicably resolved matter became chaotic after the PTI backtracked on its choice of former top bureaucrat Nasir Saeed Khosa as the caretaker CM of Punjab, even though it haggled with the Punjab CM over his nomination for quite some time.

Subsequently, the Punjab government refused to bend backwards when Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif said no to taking back Khosa’s name. The constitutional requirement in this regard has been fulfilled and a summary seeking the notification of Khosa as the interim chief minister had already been sent to the Punjab governor, he had said.

However, disheartened by the PTI’s attitude, Khosa excused himself from heading the caretaker setup. He regretted that by supporting, then retracting his name, the PTI had turned him into “a controversial figure in the media”.

Speaking to a local media outlet, he said Imran Khan had called him 10 days ago and told him that he would like to propose my name for caretaker CM. He said Imran had also called him a “reliable and trustworthy person. But today, the same party is levelling allegations against me”.

PTI GIVES TWO MORE NAMES:

Unaffected by the government’s insistence on not taking back Khosa’s name, the PTI has gone ahead and proposed two nominees for the post—Professor Hassan Askari and former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police chief Nasir Durrani. However, Durrani too excused himself from the post, after which a new name will be proposed by the PTI on Friday.

On the other hand, senior PML-N leader Rana Mashood said there would be no changes in the Punjab government’s nominees for the caretaker post. “The PTI is playing childish politics,” he said, adding that the opposition had not contacted the government to renegotiate the matter.

Shehbaz Sharif is not in a mood to discuss anything with the opposition and it is highly likely the matter will be referred to the parliamentary committee, he added.

“This has never happened before,” he said. “We had already sent a summary for Khosa’s appointment to Governor House. If the governor doesn’t sign it, the matter will be forwarded to a parliamentary committee.”

SINDH:

Meanwhile, in Sindh, sources said late on Thursday night that the PPP and MQM-P had agreed to appoint former Sindh chief secretary Fazlur Rehman as the caretaker CM. However, a formal announcement in this regard is yet to be made.

BALOCHISTAN:

The nascent Balochistan government is having trouble to nominate the caretaker CM after it failed to convince the opposition on its nominees. However, CM Abdul Quddus Bizenjo remains hopeful of reaching a consensus as, according to him, “the government is in contact with the opposition and both sides are likely to finalise a unanimous name by June 3”.

Unlike other provinces, the tenure of Balochistan Assembly will end on June 3 and there are still chances that both sides will be able to come up with a suitable nominee. If not, the matter will be referred to a parliamentary committee.

KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA:

In KP, a parliamentary committee headed by former KP Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser and comprising three members each from the government and opposition has been formed to deliberate on the caretaker CM issue.

The matter will be referred to the ECP if the committee fails to come up with a name for the position.

After announcing Manzoor Afridi for the interim CM slot on its whims, the PTI had withdrawn the appointment following “backlash from the opposition”.

The government has now proposed the names of Himayatullah and Ijaz Qureshi while the opposition has proposed the names of Justice (r) Dost Muhammad and Manzoor Afridi.