The process to have a caretaker set-up in Punjab gained momentum on Monday, with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and senior party members getting down to brass tacks to finalise candidates as their nominees to be discussed with the PML-Q and thrash out the proposals made by the other side.
PML-N's top brass met under party supremo Nawaz Sharif, who participated via video link from London, at the prime minister’s Model Town residence in the provincial capital.
The meeting reached the decision to participate in the consultation process for the appointment of the caretaker chief minister and hammer out the party's strategy, sources said and added that various names for the slot came under discussion during the meeting.
However, the party has decided to keep the shortlisted names under wraps until the allies are consulted.
PML-N leaders, including Ishaq Dar, Ahsan Iqbal, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Azam Nazeer Tarar, Malik Ahmed Khan, and Ata Tarar were also present at the huddle.
The development came amid reports that the PML-N would rather prefer to stay away from the consultation process and would let the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decide the caretaker CM.
Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman has already written separate letters to Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi and outgoing opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz to mutually decide on a candidate to propose for appointment as the caretaker CM within three days.
Both have till Tuesday (today) evening to discuss and decide on a name.
Also read: PML-Q forwards names of candidates for caretaker CM to governor
For his part, Elahi officially proposed three potential candidates for the post of Punjab caretaker chief minister to Governor Balighur Rehman on Monday. The chief minister's son Moonis Elahi shared the letter on his official Twitter handle.
Sent as instructed and announced . pic.twitter.com/AAY9f0wvfo— Moonis Elahi (@MoonisElahi6) January 16, 2023
In pursuance of Article 224(1A) of the Constitution, the names of Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera, Nasir Mahmood Khosa and Muhammad Naseer Khan were proposed for appointment as caretaker chief minister of Punjab.
Hamza appoints representative
Meanwhile, in a related development, party sources revealed Hamza Shehbaz, who is abroad and is not likely to return home before January 26, has appointed PM’s aide Malik Ahmad Khan as his representative tasked to hold consultations with Elahi – who is to serve as chief minister until a caretaker setup is installed.
Malik also had a word with Elahi over the phone regarding the appointment of the caretaker chief minister and assured that nominees for the post will be suggested by the PML-N soon.
In the meeting at PM Shehbaz’s residence, the distribution of tickets, shortlisting of candidates and formation of a parliamentary board were also discussed, party sources said.
As per the pattern laid out in the law, elections are supposed to be conducted 90 days after the dissolution of the assembly.
The process to install a caretaker set-up in Punjab was set in motion on Saturday after the provincial assembly was allowed to dissolve automatically as Governor Balighur Rehman refrained from giving his assent to Elahi's dissolution advice.
According to Article 112(1), the assembly stands automatically “dissolved at the expiration of 48 hours after the chief minister has so advised” if the governor did not do it.
With the dissolution of the assembly, Elahi’s nearly six-month-long tumultuous stint at the top post ended along with his cabinet.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ