Governor asks PA speaker to resolve impasse over caretaker CM.

LAHORE -- After Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz forwarded the names of two 'loyalists' of the federal coalition to the governor as nominees for the caretaker chief minister, which were rejected outright by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and PML-Q, the governor wrote to the assembly speaker on Tuesday to constitute a parliamentary committee to come up with a consensus candidate.

In a letter to Governor Balighur Rehman, Hamza said: 'While not agreeing with the names proposed by outgoing chief minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, I forward the following names - Mohsin Raza Naqvi and Ahad Khan Cheema - for appointment of one of them as caretaker chief minister of Punjab.'

The PML-N-led federal coalition government has surprised many by nominating those considered very close to the party and whom the PTI termed 'highly controversial'.

Former bureaucrat Ahad Cheema is currently a special assistant to the prime minister and faces corruption cases of assets beyond means and Ashiyana Housing instituted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Mohsin Naqvi is the owner of a media house and said to be very close to PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari.

'Mr Cheema is Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's nominee and Mr Naqvi of Asif Zardari,' a senior PML-N leader from Punjab told Dawn, calling it a 'smart move' of the federal government to stall a consensus on the appointment of the interim CM as the nominees of both the incumbent chief minister and the outgoing opposition leader would eventually land with the Election Commission, which would select one of them for the slot.

'It is highly likely that the [Election Commission of Pakistan] will select from the opposition leader's nominees, who may be instrumental in delaying polls in the province,' the leader said, adding that by nominating 'loyalists', the federal coalition tried its best to ensure its rule in Punjab through the caretaker set-up.

Meanwhile, Governor Rehman late on Tuesday wrote to Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan to follow the procedure under Article 224A(2) of the Constitution for the appointment of a caretaker chief minister, as there had been no agreement between the chief minister and the outgoing opposition leader over a candidate.

The speaker will...

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