Lahore - As the PTI and the PML-N are engaged in numbers’ game to establish their claim on the new provincial government, all eyes are set on the Punjab Assembly to see who is going to be elected as the Punjab chief minister.

The new chief executive of Punjab could be either from the PML-N or the PTI depending on which party forms government in the biggest province.

While the PML-N has almost finalised the name of Hamza Shehbaz Sharif for the coveted slot, the PTI is indecisive about its nominee.

Senior politician from Multan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi could have been the new chief minister, but he lost a provincial seat from his hometown in July 25 polls. He is now being tipped as country’s foreign minister, an office he previously held during PPP’s last tenure in power.

But there are also reports that Shah Mahmood has declined the offer to work as the foreign minister. He wants to become the chief minister after getting elected as MPA through a by-election.

In such a scenario, the PTI will have to bring a stop-gap chief minister for few months till election of Shah Mehmood from a provincial seat.

Jahangir Khan Tareen who could have been another possible choice for this office is already out of the race after his disqualification by the Supreme Court. Likewise, former Punjab governor Ch Muhammad Sarwar also does not qualify to become the chief minister as he was elected Senator in March 2018.

Aleem Khan who lost election from a national seat from Lahore on July 25 but won on a provincial seat, stands better choice to get his party’s nomination for this important office.

Aleem Khan is a serious contender for the coveted slot as he has been the major source of funding for the party after Jahangir Tareen. And this also brought him criticism from political opponents who would take pleasure calling him as “Imran Khan’s ATM machine” along with Mr Tareen.

But there is a problem to his nomination as the chief minister because he is facing NAB investigation in connection with his alleged offshore company as disclosed in Panama Papers. PTI chief Imran Khan is being advised from certain quarters against Aleem’s selection for this office.

Party insiders also think that PTI’s chief minister should be a clean man without any baggage.

The name of ex-Leader of the Opposition in Punjab Assembly Mian Mehmoodur Rashid is also under consideration. But many in the PTI doubt his loyalty to the party. Party men also questioned his role in the nomination of caretaker chief minister last month. Given this background, Mr Rashid is less likely to fall in Khan’s choice for the high office in question.

PTI’s Central Secretary Information Fawad Ch is also ready to offer his services in this regard. Talking to a TV news channel the other day, Fawad said in a lighter vein though that he would accept the offer if made by the party chairman.

Apart from the PTI leaders, former Punjab chief minister Ch Pervaiz Elahi has also laid his claim on the chief ministership. But party spokesperson Fawad Ch was quick to point out on Friday that new chief minister would come from within the PTI.

Following the distribution of party tickets before the elections, the selection of new Punjab chief minister would come as another difficult test for Imran Khan who is now poised to become country’s prime minister in two weeks time.

 

 

Who would be

new Punjab CM?