LAHORE - A non-political person is expected to be appointed as governor of the Punjab province after incumbent acting governor and speaker Punjab Assembly Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan preferred to stay away from governorship and continue performing his duties as custodian of the House.
Sources in the PML-N say that after considering many names following resignation of Ch Muhammad Sarwar as Punjab Governor in January last, the PML-N leadership had inclination to permanently induct this gentle soul to governor’s office. But Rana Iqbal, a trusted person of the Sharifs, preferred to stay away from governorship and opted for serving as active politician which, according to sources, will keep him in touch with the electorate of his constituency in Phoolnagar, besides nipping his political rivals from getting space in his absence.
Sources say that in the latest development, an apolitical person has become choice of the PML-N leadership which, they add, have a few names in their mind to pick up for the slot. They said the top leaders of the party are keeping the names close to their chest and after internal deliberations, the final one would be disclosed next week. They say the Sharifs and their close aides are considering appointment of a former judge of the superior judiciary to the governor’s office. Before that, they had inclination for former bureaucrat Saeed Mehdi for this slot but decided not to disturb his present position of chairman board of directors, SNGPL, where he is performing satisfactorily.
Reluctant to appoint a political figure as Punjab governor, sources say, the leadership desired a man from South Punjab but given the fact that the names came up from that part were of the settlers who were not Sariaki as such they were short of satisfying the purpose. They say in selecting name of the next governor, the party leaders are taking care not to repeat the episode created by the tirade of Ch Sarwar, who was specially brought from UK for the governor office. However, he quit expressing sheer dissatisfaction with the government and its bureaucracy and later joined the PTI, the political rival of the N-League.
It may be mentioned here that Rana Iqbal took over as acting governor soon after resignation of Ch Sarwar on January 28. Later a petition against his new assignment was moved in the Lahore High Court. The petitioner questioned the notification in respect of his acting governorship inter alia on the ground the acting governor could officiate for a regular governor and not when the office is vacant due to resignation of the permanent one. The petitioner had also sought appointment of regular governor and the court disposed of the plea after the Federal Government undertook to fill in the vacancy with permanent governor before May 11 next.
When contacted, Punjab government spokesman Syed Zaeem Hussain Qadri said the cut-off date committed with the court will be honoured. He said the names of new governor were under consideration and would be made public in next few days. He also said a non-political person may be the party choice this time.