Hassan Askari, Alauddin Marri sworn in as caretaker CMs


LAHORE/QUETTA: Professor Dr Hassan Askari Rizvi and Alauddin Marri on Friday were sworn in as the caretaker chief ministers of Punjab and Balochistan respectively.

While the oath of Prof Dr Rizvi was administered by Punjab Governor Rafique Rajwana in Lahore, Marri was sworn in as Balochistan’s executive head in a ceremony held at the Governor House in Quetta.

Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai administered the oath-taking ceremony of the new chief minister.

Marri was named as the province’s caretaker chief minister by the Election Commission of Pakistan on Thursday after a parliamentary committee formed to decide a name for the post failed to reach consensus on the matter.

Marri, who belongs to Mastung district of Balochistan, was recommended by the former provincial government, which had also proposed the name of Sardar Shaukat Popalzai for the candidature.


On the other hand, Prof Dr Rizvi is a renowned political scientist and military analyst, currently working as professor emeritus of political science at the Punjab University.

A former visiting professor of Pakistan Studies at the Columbia University from 1996 to 1999, Prof Askari has also served as Allama Iqbal Professor at Heidelberg University, Germany, from 1988 to 1991.

He has a number of publications, including more than 1,800 op-eds and comment pieces in domestic and international newspapers and magazines and has spent over 35 years teaching and supervising research at the post-graduate level. The books include ‘Military, State and Society in Pakistan’ and ‘The military and Politics in Pakistan: 1947 – 1997’.

On Thursday, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) appointed analyst Dr Hasan Askari as Punjab caretaker CM after the parliamentary committee failed to reach consensus on the issue of chief minister.

The ECP’s decision to name Askari for the top post didn’t go down well with the erstwhile ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which lashed out at the ECP for appointing a “biased” candidate.

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif had said that the selection of Askari Rizvi by ECP does not fulfil the criterion of neutrality. “He is also a known critic of PML-N and his position vis-a-vis PML-N is clearly biased. He has also advocated a delay in elections.”

“With his appointment, the image of ECP is going to be severely damaged,” he added.

In an immediate presser post-ECP decision, the senior leadership of the PML-N, including ex-prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal, had announced to reject the appointment of Dr Askari.

The former premier was of the view that Hassan Askari is “not a neutral person” as “he had said in the past that the elections shouldn’t be held in warm weather”. “How can he ensure that the elections are held on time when he holds such views,” he had said.

Ahsan Iqbal had said if the election is made controversial, a political crisis will emerge after the poll that will be “poisonous” for the country. He had said he is calling on the people of Pakistan to “protect the vote” after the ECP verdict.

Party leader Rana Sanaullah had also expressed reservations, saying that the analyst has always targetted the PML-N. “He does not believe in democracy and cannot be expected to ensure work is done on merit and without bias,” the PML-N leader had claimed.

The former law minister had further said, “We have issued a written statement over reservations on Dr Askari’s appointment and we can challenge it.”

The matter was referred to the ECP after the PML-N and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) locked horns over the choice of a candidate for the CMship, especially since PTI backtracked on its own nominee which the PML-N had agreed upon–Nasir Saeed Khosa.