Peshawer/LAHORE - Former Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court Justice (Retd) Dost Mohammad Khan was sworn in as caretaker chief minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday.

In Punjab and Balochistan, the issue of nominating caretaker chief ministers was referred to the Election Commission of Pakistan as the parliamentary committees of both the assemblies failed to reach consensus over one name.

The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza has convened a consultative meeting on Thursday (today) to select one person for the caretaker slot in Punjab.

Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal on Wednesday referred four names to the ECP that included those of Prof Hassan Askari Rizvi and Ayaz Ameer (from opposition’s side) and Admiral (retd) Muhammad Zakaullah and Justice (retd) Muhammad Sahir Ali proposed by the chief minister.

In his brief chat with media persons soon after taking oath of his office, KP caretaker chief minister said he will act according to the mandate assigned to him under the constitution and assist the Election Commission for conduct of free and fair elections. “Our mission is to ensure free and fair elections,” he said, adding that he would try his level best to ensure giving maximum relief to the masses during his brief term in the government. Moreover, the interim chief minister said that his cabinet would be small and appointed on the basis of merit.

Later, the caretaker chief minister called on KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra and discussed matters of mutual interest. The governor congratulated him on taking over the new responsibilities and wished him success in the fulfilment of his responsibilities.

Khan served as Peshawar High Court chief justice from 17 November 2011 to 31 January 2014. He was later elevated as a Supreme Court justice in 2014. He retired on March 19, 2018, after completing his tenure.

The ECP had named Khan as caretaker KP chief minister on Tuesday. The decision was made in a consultative meeting of a five-member commission.

The matter was earlier forwarded to the electoral body after the parliamentary committee constituted to nominate the caretaker chief minister was unable to finalise a candidate for the post.

Former KP chief minister Pervez Khattak had recommended bureaucrats Himayatullah Khan and Ejaz Ahmed Qureshi, while the then opposition leader in KP Assembly Maulana Lutfur Rehman had proposed the names of businessman Manzoor Khan Afridi and Justice Dost Mohammad Khan for the post.

Khan will serve as the interim chief minister till the new government takes charge following the general elections scheduled to be held on July 25.

In Punjab province, PTI had proposed the names of news analyst Ayaz Ameer and Defence analyst Dr Hassan Askari Rizvi for the post of caretaker CM while the PML-N had nominated Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah and Justice (retd) Muhammad Sahir Ali.

Similarly, in Balochistan the former provincial government had suggested the names of Sardar Shoukat Popalzai and Alauddin Marri for the post of the caretaker chief minister while the former opposition had nominated Mohammad Aslam Bhutani and Ashraf Jahangir Qazi.

Election Commission will decide on the names of caretaker chief ministers by June 8.

The Assembly committee in Punjab met here at Punjab Assembly but failed to evolve consensus over one name.

Speaker Punjab Assembly Rana Muhamad Iqbal who sat in the meeting to witness its proceedings, referred the matter to the Election Commission for decision within two days.

Earlier, the matter of nominating a caretaker chief minister was referred to the Assembly committees in Punjab and Balochistan on Sunday last after the two chief ministers and opposition leaders failed to achieve any breakthrough.