KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator and Former Attorney General Latif Khosa is likely to be appointed as the new governor of Punjab.
According to sources, Khosa’s name has been finalised by President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani today (Sunday).
The former attorney general’s son Balakh Sher Khosa also confirmed the report to Express News. According to Article 101 of the constitution, the president has to appoint a governor on the advice of the Prime Minister. However, President Zardari’s Spokesman Farhatullah Babar has said a decision regarding who will be the new Punjab governor has not been taken yet.
Finding new partners: PPP to appoint governor after PML-N deadline elapses
Although the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has not yet named the new governor of Punjab President Zardari is expected to appoint close aide Sardar Latif Khosa to succeed Salmaan Taseer, officials said.
Sources in the party say the announcement would come after the deadline given by Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) expires.
“Khosa is most likely to be appointed as Punjab governor,” a senior government official said. Other top officials confirmed this. Khosa, a former attorney general, told Reuters on Saturday that Zardari had called him for a meeting in Karachi. “I will accept the decision of my leadership,” he said.
The choice of who will replace Taseer is crucial for Zardari. Choosing Khosa could mean Zardari is seeking to cool temperatures with Nawaz Sharif.
Analysts say Khosa will try to avoid antagonising the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to tamp down disputes that have paralysed the federal government. Though soft-spoken and non-confontational, he is an ardent supporter of the PPP.
“Our party wants to see the reaction of PML-N before nominating any person for the slot. There are two to three names under consideration but all the news items regarding aspiring candidates for governorship are just exaggerations,” a party leader told The Express Tribune. The new governor will belong to the PPP and will have full backing of PML-Q, the source added.
Meeting with Asma Jahangir
Meanwhile, reports of President Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Asma Jahangir, who called on President Zardari at Bilawal House on Saturday, being considered for the post of governorship were bluntly denied by Jahangir. Talking to media outside the Bilawal House, she said the position she holds currently is more significant than governorship.
During the meeting, the president announced a grant of Rs100 million for the SCBA, of which Rs40 million would be provided by the law ministry, in addition to plots of land for members of the bar, according to sources.
Meanwhile, Jahangir also raised the issue of missing persons in Balochistan and the President assured her that he would look into the matter, sources added.
PPP, PML-Q negotiations
A senior Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q) leader, who is also member of Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the party, said that backdoor negotiations between the PPP and the PML-Q are going on and 70 per cent of the members of the party’s parliamentary committee are willing to join the government.
“During the CEC meeting, it was discussed that PPP was not sincere with us. But since we have mandates in Balochistan and Punjab, therefore we decided to demand chief minister-ships in both the provinces,” he told The Express Tribune.
Meetings with Sindh Bank board, federal ministers
A high level meeting was held at Bilawal House with the board of directors of Sindh Bank.
The bank expects to disburse loans worth Rs12 billion to various sectors during the year 2011 and will provide employment to 6,000 people, said President and CEO Sindh Bank Muhammad Bilal Shaikh. The bank will finance particularly small and medium sized enterprises, Shaikh added.
The president also met Federal Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh, Federal Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf and spoke to former President SCBA Aitzaz Ahsan on the phone while Federal Defence Minister Chaudhary Ahmed Muhktar also called on him.
With input from Reuters
Published in The Express Tribune, January 9th, 2011.