One may or may not be a fan of the news analysis that Najam Sethi (NS) has done for many years in both the print and electronic media, but seeing him in the position of the Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister’s slot, and that too as the consensus candidate, is a feel-good factor.

He has been giving his opinions with aplomb, quite unafraid to state what he thought was the right position to take, whatever the issue. It is, indeed, creditable that politicians on all sides think that he will do justice to the responsibility given to him because he is perceived to be unbiased.

There are several examples of how some of our good journalists have crossed over to powerful positions, but then have chosen to stay there. In Najam Sethi’s case, one hopes he will revert to journalism and the watchdog position as compared to being the one that needs watching.

This is a first, however, of a journalist being nominated by politicians for one of the most important positions and all those who indulge in the same profession can sit back and be happy for this moment. As in the Virginia Slims advertisement, which has a tall and slender woman taking a puff with the words “you have come a long way baby” written under, the feeling for us about NS being caretaker Chief Minister is much the same!

The mere fact that a journalist and anchorperson has been considered, along with retired judges and bureaucrats, for such a position points to the change in times and thinking. Finally, we seem to be moving in the right direction, with a particular reference to preparing for the electoral process. These few weeks will be a test case for the caretaker CM to practice all that he would have advised, had someone else been selected in his place.

Najam Sethi, a well educated and well exposed person, also embodies the Lahori spirit for whom humour and the ability to laugh are extremely important and which fact should help in keeping him grounded. Failing which, the very same media of which he is part, will be doing the watchdog on him.

The nominations are in full swing and the pace of electioneering is going to pick up speed as April unfolds. It is, probably, extremely irritating to some of the players in the arena to abide by the new rules for contesting and to prove that their credentials are squeaky clean, on all major counts.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has finally toughened its stance and given very clear directives on all that can and cannot be done. They will only be able to hold free and fair elections if they also ensure that their directives are implemented.

It is at election time that one feels the absence of Benazir Bhutto even more. Her party does not appear to be together. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has flown the nest at this most crucial juncture because his dad has been explicitly forbidden by the ECP to visit constituencies and indulge in politics.

This is, indeed, a great setback to the plans that were laid out. As the poet has said: “Takia tha jin pai, wohi pattey hawwa dainey lage.”

The rumour is that Bilawal had a falling-out with his Aunt Faryal Talpur (who plays a leading part in the party affairs). The bright side is that this one fact has taken Bilawal’s personal popularity up by several notches.

BB’s son was the trump card the party was going to use and his leaving the country now does not really leave anybody from the party to fill that gap. The selection of the two tainted ex-Prime Ministers leading the PPP election campaign is such an insult to the people of the country. They embody all that one is trying to change.

The fact that the last Prime Minister has deputed a huge police contingent for himself for the rest of his life speaks volumes for his insensitivity to what people think. When there is just no love lost on either side, how can the ex-Prime Ministers inspire people to vote for their party and for more of the same? Some questions are just mind-boggling.

Postscript: Between the Chief Election Commissioner and the new caretaker Prime Minister the concept of being redundant in your eighties has gone flying out of the window. In India, they have a lot of wise old men in active politics, but it is not so common here - barring, perhaps, the example of the last Pir Sahib Pagaro, who had some magic potion that arrested aging and the unforgettable Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan. The caretaker Prime Minister seems simple and straightforward enough with the added bonus of being from Balochistan and will, probably, be just right for the job. There is one extra wish that many of us would like him to fulfil, apart from sticking to the straight and narrow of assisting the Election Commission. That is to order the restoration of YouTube. We not only miss it, we need it too. So Mr Khosa Sir, please consider this request sympathetically before it is time to go back again and we are left with no option, but to sing to ourselves in melancholy with a YouTube less existence

“Ulfat ki nai manzil ko chala,

Tu daal kai baanhain

baanhon mai,

Dil thorhney waley dekh

kai chal,

Hum bhi tau parhien

hain raahon mai.”

The writer is a public relations and event management professional based in Islamabad.  Email: Twitter: @tallatazim.