The names of a retired bureaucrat and a retired judge have been picked by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for caretaker chief minister of Punjab during the interregnum after assemblies dissolve on March 16.
Shahbaz Sharif, as Leader of the House, has written a letter to Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Raja Riaz, intimating the names to him.
According to the letter, Justice (retd) Amer Raza Khan and Khawaja Zaheer have been picked. The key opposition finalised Khan’s name out of a total of 12 retired judges. PML-N officials told The Express Tribune that Justice (retd) Raza Khan’s name was recommended by Senator Ishaq Dar.
Raza Khan, while talking to The Express Tribune, confirmed his name and said that before forwarding his name, the government had sought his consent.
The other candidate, bureaucrat Khawaja Zaheer, is known amongst Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders as an honest officer.
Khan is known as a teacher of judges in Pakistan. He is currently visiting professor of law at the University of the Punjab, and an adjunct faculty member at the Lahore University of Management Sciences.
He served as judge of the Lahore High Court during 1979-1981, a constitutional office that he relinquished after refusal to take a new oath during former president General Ziaul Haq’s regime.
Opposition submits names of caretaker PM
Meanwhile, the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has responded to the letter he had received from Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and has forwarded the names for opposition nominees for the post. The PML-N has nominated Justice (retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid and Justice (retd) Shakirullah Jan, and Rasul Bakhsh Palejo, a veteran Sindhi politician.
Addressing the media, Nisar said that if they are unable to reach consensus, the matter would be forwarded to a parliamentary committee, comprising four members from the opposition and the government. Responding to media reports which suggested that the National Assembly speaker had started consultations about the parliamentary committee, Nisar said the speaker had no such authority. “The speaker only notifies members of the committee proposed to her by the opposition and the government,” he said.
Nisar warned that the PML-N would not dissolve the Punjab Assembly if the government failed to install transparent caretaker setups in Balochistan and Sindh.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 12th, 2013.