ISLAMABAD: Moments after the government accept former governor Punjab Chaudhry Sarwar's resignation, the federal government has appointed Speaker Punjab Assembly Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan as acting governor Punjab.
Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Sardar Sher Ali Khan Gorchani will perform Khan's duty as speaker of the Punjab Assembly for the time being.
Sources close to Rana Iqbal said he might be acting governor for a few months before a permanent replacement is found.
Constitutionally, in the absence of a governor, the Punjab Assembly speaker or chief justice of the Lahore High Court can perform the role as acting governor. However, former Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry restricted chief justice’s from taking the role, and it is now passed on to the speaker.
Further, sources in the federal government said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership is heavily engaged in Senate elections.
Sources in the PML-N said the top leadership contemplated a few names for the post before Sarwar's resignation.
Regarding the current situation, party sources said Chaudhry Saud Majeed is still a front runner among candidates for the race of the Punjab governorship due to several reasons.
RELATED: Governor Punjab Chaudhry Sarwar resigns after making anti-govt remarks
Sources further added that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has appointed its new PPP South Punjab chapter -- President Makhdom Ahmed Mehmood -- to revive the party in South Punjab.
Makhdom Ahmed was PPP's Governor before Sarwar.
They also said that PML-N is seriously contemplating to field Chaudhry Saud Majeed to counter PPP's new move in South Punjab, and that Saud may resolve the problems of the people of South Punjab while is in the Governor House.
Traditionally, a governor is always appointed from South Punjab if the Punjab chief minister is from Central Punjab. And in Sindh, if the chief minister is from an urban area then the governor who is appointed will be from interior Sindh in order to balance representation of the area.
Although Sarwar was from South Punjab, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif appointed him the slot based on Sarwar’s wishes..
Regarding Begum Zakia Shahnawaz, party sources said that PML-N’s top leadership though that appointing a woman in this slot would be beneficial in developing a soft stance of the party at the time.
However, sources said the situation had now changed as Begum’s real brother, Sardar Babli Khan, and others are staunch supporters and candidates of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in Mianwali.
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