Punjab caretaker CM's name likely to be 'announced tomorrow'

Fawad Chaudhry says ECP will pick one from four nominees under Article 244A of the constitution within two days

Nausheen Yusuf
A representational image of the Election Commission of Pakistan building. — Facebook/File
A representational image of the Election Commission of Pakistan building. — Facebook/File
  • CEC Sikandar Sultan summons ECP session on Sunday.
  • Fawad says ECP will pick one from four nominees within two days.
  • Development comes after parliamentary committee fails to reach consensus.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja has summoned a session on January 22 (Sunday) to deliberate over the proposed names of Punjab's caretaker chief minister to fill the highest post of the province Sunday, Geo News reported citing sources.

The sources said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will announce the name of the Punjab caretaker CM tomorrow. 

The development comes after the six-member bi-partisan parliamentary committee, formed by the Speaker Punjab Assembly Sibtain Khan, failed to reach a consensus over the names for the interim CM.

The matter of the caretaker CM's appointment faced an unusual delay after the dissolution of the Punjab Assembly last week, due to constant back-and-forth between the provincial government and the opposition on the nominees.

According to details available with Geo News, the names of four nominees — two from the government and one from the opposition each — have been received by the ECP. 

The electoral body will review the names in the meeting, which CEC and other members of the commission would also attend.

'Hope ECP selects a better person'

Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry said that the ECP would pick one from the four nominees under Article 244A of the Constitution of Pakistan, within two days.

Taking to his Twitter handle, Fawad wrote that the ECP could not nominate anyone for the post of provincial chief executive according to its choice.

"I hope that the ECP selects a better name instead of appointing someone who is Sharif and Zardari's frontman," the PTI leader said.

It should be noted that former Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi — who is a PTI ally — has already declared that if the decision-making power is left to the ECP, he will take the matter to the Supreme Court.

Govt, opposition at loggerheads

The government and the opposition Friday remained at loggerheads over the appointment of Punjab's caretaker chief minister, as the parliamentary committee — formed on Thursday — comprising three members from both sides could not reach a consensus on the matter in a meeting held on Friday.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Malik, speaking to journalists after the meeting, said: "This was an opportunity to settle things politically, but that could not be done here."

"When there are so many polarised positions, there can be no agreement."

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader also lamented the stalemate, saying, “when the house was small, the people were big; now the house has become big, while people have become small."

“Unfortunately we could not agree [on a name], we are not leaving with good memories," he added.

Brief profiles of all nominees:

Mohsin Raza Naqvi

Lahore-born Mohsin Raza Naqvi is a journalist by profession. He got his higher education in the USA and was associated with the American TV channel CNN during his stay in Miami. After returning to Pakistan, he served as the regional head of CNN.

According to a report, Benazir Bhutto, who Mohsin had interviewed before, last contacted him before her assassination.

Mohsin founded the local media City News Network in 2009 at the age of 30 and now owns six news channels and a newspaper. He is also widely known in political circles and has strong relations with leading political figures.

Ahad Raza Cheema

Cheema, known as the best administrator in the Shehbaz Sharif chief ministership, is also called the 'Metro Man' among his close friends and political circles.

Cheema was a PAS (Pakistan Administrative Service) grade 20 officer and served as the chief executive officer of QATPC, owned by the Government of Punjab.

In 2005, the then chief minister Parvez Elahi selected him to oversee his marquee project ‘Parha Likha Punjab’.

The Punjab civil servants attribute the project’s success to Ahad’s management skills and hard work. Cheema remained in NAB custody during Imran Khan's tenure, however, he was acquitted of the charge later.

Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera

PTI's first nominee for caretaker Punjab CM is the incumbent Secretary Cabinet Division, Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera, who is due to retire on January 31.

A Harvard graduate, Sukhera joined the civil services of Pakistan in 1985 and served as secretary of trade, information, privatisation, textile, and his latest stint is as the federal secretary.

He also held the additional charge of PTV while serving as the secretary of information.

Naveed Akram Cheema

PTI's second nominee is Naveed Akram Cheema, who served as the Chief Secretary of Punjab and also served twice as the manager of the Pakistan Cricket Team.

Naveed first took over as manager after the infamous spot-fixing case in the 2010 tour of England, and the second time just ahead of the 2015 ODI World Cup after retiring from the civil services on December 31, 2014.