LAHORE - The Sindh province took the lead in choosing a caretaker chief minister on Thursday, though at the eleventh hour.

In all the other three provinces, the deadlock remains between the government and opposition sides on selecting interim CMs, who will call the shots until the installation of new governments there after the general elections.

The Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies were dissolved on May 28 and the chief ministers and the leaders of the opposition there had three days time, until Thursday midnight, to reach consensus.

Outgoing Sindh chief minister Murad Ali Shah and opposition leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan agreed on former chief secretary Fazlur Rehman’s name after a meeting that lasted for more than two-and-a-half hour on Thursday night.

The TV channels flashed the news of Fazl’s selection as caretaker CM minutes after the 12pm deadline expired.

The time is up for KP’s outgoing CM Pervez Khattak and Leader of Opposition Maulana Lutfur Rehman to have their say in the matter, which will now be decided by a six-member committee comprising the outgoing MPAs – three each from the Treasury and the Opposition.

If the committee too failed to evolve consensus, the Speaker will refer four names (two each to be given by the opposition and the government) to the Election Commission on June 3 to pick one of them within next two days.

In that situation, Khattak will continue to act as the chief minister until June 5. The speaker and the opposition leader will also continue until June 3, the day their role in ends.

As far as Punjab and Balochistan are concerned, the assemblies there ceased to exist on Thursday midnight.

As per the rules, the chief ministers and the leaders of opposition still have three days to reach consensus.

If they fail, the house committees will be formed there too on June 3, and if the committees too fail to reach consensus by June 6, the matter will be forwarded to the ECP to decide it until June 8.

The chief ministers of Punjab and Balochistan would continue to occupy their office until 8th of this month if the provinces exhaust the entire constitutional course laid down for nominating caretaker CMs.



Sindh’s scene

The selected interim CM Fazlur Rehman – whose name was reportedly proposed by the opposition side – served as Sindh chief secretary from 2007 to 2010, when he retired from service.

Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair would likely administer the oath to him on Friday. The offices of Murad, Opposition leader Izharul Hassan and Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani will be also be de-notified the same day.

The meeting between CM Murad and Izhar was also attended by former provincial ministers Mukesh Chawla and Nasir Shah as well as Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s Faisal Subzwari, sources said.



Punjab situation

Punjab Governor Malik Rafique Rajwana yesterday stopped further action on a summary sent to him by Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday for notifying Nasir Mahmood Khosa as caretaker chief minister.

The decision came after Nasir Khosa rescued himself from becoming the caretaker on Wednesday, after his nomination became controversial. Khosa’s name was agreed by the government and the opposition by consensus, but the PTI took an about-turn and withdrew his name.

The CM had sent the summery to the governor for Khosa’s appointment by then, but Mehmoodur Rashid said that any summary without his signatures would be unconstitutional and illegal and he would challenge the decision in the court of law.

Efforts were now underway from the two sides to break the deadlock on the issue of caretaker CM and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Opposition Leader Mian Mehmoordur Rashid are likely to have another meeting today to sort out the matter at their level.

In a related development, former KP IGP Nasir Durrani – another nominee of the PTI – also refused to accept this position on Thursday. PTI is now left with two names – Justice (r) Sair Ali and Prof Hassan Askari Rizvi.

PTI’s spokesperson Fawad Ch however told The Nation that his party will give more names if the chief minister did not agree on these two.

On the other hand, Punjab law department on Thursday issued a notification regarding dissolution of the Punjab Assembly.

Today, Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal will de-notify the office of the Deputy Speaker and the parliamentary secretaries. However, the office of Leader of the Opposition will remain intact for another three days but only to the extent of nomination of the caretaker chief minister.

Balochistan Assembly

Balochistan Assembly also stood dissolved on Thursday. The government and opposition are at a standstill for the name of caretaker chief minister.

But here too, the chief minister and the opposition leader still have three days to decide the matter on their own, as the province has the same timeline as Punjab.

Only making the things more complex here, the former chief minister of Balochistan had filed a resolution in the provincial assembly to postpone the election. He cited the monsoon season and haj season being the reason for his appeal.


The matter of choosing a caretaker by themselves has slipped from the hands of chief minister Pervaiz Khattak and Opposition leader Maulana Lutful Rehman, as the deadline expired on Thursday night.

Now the speaker will form a six-member committee today, having three members each from government and opposition side.

Earlir, the name of Manzoor Afridi, brother of PTI Senator Ayub Afridi, was finalised for the caretaker CM in KP but it was taken back due to the reservation of the opposition parties.

JUI-F is still trying on getting Afridi picked but PTI is now favouring former bureaucrat Himayatullah Khan.

Sources said that negotiations were also underway for the consensus at the committee level on former chief secretary Aijaz Qureshi’s name. He has served as the chairman of Gandhara Hindko Project.