Three provinces in a fix over selection of caretaker chief ministers

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LAHORE: No breakthrough was witnessed in the selection of caretaker chief ministers of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan on Sunday.

While the KP parliamentary committee failed to evolve consensus on the issue and decided to refer the matter to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) decided to assign the task of choosing a candidate for the post of Punjab caretaker CM to a parliamentary committee. A similar situation was witnessed in Quetta where the Balochistan chief minister and the former opposition leader in the provincial assembly failed to reach consensus on the issue.

Annoyed over backtracking of the PTI after finalising a candidate for caretaker chief minister of Punjab, the PML-N on Sunday rejected the very idea of bringing the PTI’s Mahmoodur Rasheed and PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif on a negotiating table.

In Lahore matter referred to parliamentary committee; in Quetta final talks remain inconclusive; in Peshawar task assigned to ECP

Former provincial law minister Rana Sanaullah said the PTI’s failure to honour its decision had created the image of a “non-serious party” for it and, therefore, the PMl-N had decided not to hold the one-on-one meeting. A meeting between Mr Rasheed and Mr Sharif could be held only if the PTI assured that it would agree on one of the names given by the PML-N, he added.

Following no immediate response from the PTI, Mr Sanaullah said the decision about caretaker chief minister would now be made by a parliamentary committee comprising three members each of both parties.

The PML-N conveyed to the speaker of the Punjab Assembly the names of its representatives in the committee — Rana Sanaullah, Khawaja Imran Nazir and former Punjab government spokesman Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan. The PTI conveyed the names of former opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly Mahmoodur Rasheed, former deputy opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly Sibtain Khan and former MPA Shoaib Siddiqui.

The PTI has removed the names of Yaqoob Tahir Izhar and former bureaucrat and political analyst Orya Maqbool Jan from its list of candidates and is going ahead with two candidates — renowned writer and analyst Dr Hasan Askari and former parliamentarian and columnist Ayaz Amir.

The PML-N has floated the names of four candidates — retired Justice Sair Ali, former inspector general of Punjab police Tariq Saleem Dogar, former naval chief Muhammad Zakaullah and former director general of the Intelligence Bureau Aftab Sultan.

In Peshawar, a senior official in the KP Assembly secretariat told Dawn that talks between the former treasury and opposition sides in Islamabad on Saturday remained inconclusive. He said that the matter would be referred to the ECP to select a candidate from four nominees, two each proposed by the former treasury and opposition in the KP Assembly.

The PTI, which had led the KP coalition government, has proposed the names of former accountant general Himayatullah Khan and former chief secretary Ijaz Qureshi while the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, which had headed the opposition, has recommended Manzoor Afridi, a businessman, and former judge of the Supreme Court Justice Dost Mohammad Khan.

In Quetta, sixth round of talks between Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and former opposition leader in the provincial assembly Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal yielded no result as they failed to reach consensus on a candidate for the post of caretaker chief minister.

The consultative meeting, held in Chief Minister House on Sunday night, was also attended by former chief ministers Nawab Sanaullah Zehri and Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, Sheikh Jaffar Khan Mandokhel and Obaidullah Babit.

Sources said that Mr Bizenjo and Mr Ziaratwal floated the names of two more candidates. Mr Ziaratwal recommended the name of former Supreme Court Bar Association president Ali Ahmed Kurd while Mr Bizenjo proposed the name of former Senator Hussain Bakhsh Bangulzai.

Sources said that now the matter would be referred to a parliamentary committee and if it failed to decide on caretaker chief minister for Balochistan, then the task would be given to the ECP.

Zulfiqar Ali from Peshawar and Saleem Shahid from Quetta also contributed to this report

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