Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has withdrawn Mehmood Khan Achakzai from its list of possible caretaker prime minister candidates after Baloch nationalists and parties objected to his political leanings.
Sources told The Express Tribune that the PML-N leadership held a meeting a few days ago in which they finalised Justice (retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid’s name as caretaker prime minister and dropped Achakzai, the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief, from the list after reservations were lodged by the Balochistan National Party, Jamhoori Watan Party and Baloch leaders within the PML-N.
They felt uncomfortable with Achakzai’s ideology of wanting a separate province for Pakhtun strongholds in Balochistan.
Balochistan National Party’s acting president, Dr Jahanzeb Jamaldini, confirmed his party’s position, asking how it was possible that Baloch-dominated areas like Chaghi, Sibbi, Bolan, Mastang and even Quetta could be handed over to the Pakhtun community.
He added that he conveyed his party’s reservations to the PML-N leadership. Jamaldini said his party and most Baloch political leaders supported the circulation of Zahid’s name as caretaker prime minister.
A senior PML-N official said his party will seek one more name from opposition parties in the coming days and will publicly announce two names.
The PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal confirmed Zahid’s name, adding that his party was still in consultations and would soon finalise the process.
The PML-N has also floated two names for caretaker chief minister of Balochistan for consultation with stakeholders both within and outside the province.
Although the main opposition party has not started discussing the possible candidates for caretaker chief minister of all four provinces, it has so far forwarded two names to other opposition parties for Balochistan.
The two names are former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Ali Ahmad Kurd, and Justice (retd) Mir Hazar Khan Khosa.
The PML-N has urged all its members who are part of the Balochistan Assembly and its allies in the province for the forthcoming elections to resist the PPP-led government’s move to appoint its own caretaker chief minister, if it decides to do so.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2013.