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Pakistan election body appoints controversial TV owner as caretaker chief minister of Punjab, PTI rejected

Pakistan election body appoints controversial TV owner as caretaker chief minister of Punjab, PTI rejected



By The South Asia Times



ISLAMABAD - The Election Commission of Pakistan on Sunday appointed a controversial journalist and TV channel owner as caretaker Chief Minister of Punjab province, however, the major opposition party rejected the decision.


Mohsin Naqvi, who was one of the two candidates suggested by the opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz, who is also the son of the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.


While Naqvi who is the owner of a media house and said to be very close to former president and PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari.



The decision was taken during a meeting chaired by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja, who is always criticized by former prime minister Imran Khan and accused him a close ally of the ruling party Pakistan Muslim League. 

The accusation denied by the ECP. 


The outgoing Chief Minister Parvez Elahi had proposed the names of Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera and Naveed Akram Cheema, both are retired bureaucrats and known widely for their honesty inside their circles while Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz had endorsed the names of Naqvi and Ahad Cheema for the caretaker slot.


Ahad Cheema, said to be very close to prime minister Shehbaz Sharif, was arrested by the country's accountability authority in 2018 on corruption charges, currently serving as an advisor to the prime minister. 



However, Sikandar rejected the names suggested by the ruling party Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf  (PTI) in Punjab and outgoing chief minister Elahi and picked Naqvi who was proposed by the opposition leader.

Reacting to Naqvi’s appointment, PTI Chairman and former premier Imran Khan said the PML-N had a “history of selecting their own umpires but it’s incredible how the ECP has selected a sworn enemy of PTI as the caretaker chief minister — a post meant for a non-partisan person”.


“Naqvi also made a voluntary return deal with NAB. SC in suo moto case no 17/2016 declared that in a case of voluntary return a person cannot hold any public office at federal or prov level nor in any state org. ECP has helped reduce Pak to a Banana Republic making our democracy a joke. I will be holding a presser tomorrow to expose this entire farce,” Khan tweeted. 


PTI also announced to launch countrywide protest against the controversial decision.

“Rejecting the decision of appointing a controversial person like Mohsin Naqvi as the Chief Minister by the election commission, there is no other way than to struggle on the streets against this system. Workers should prepare, we will launch a big campaign under the leadership of Imran Khan,” Farad Chaudhery, a senior leader of Khan’s party announced. 




Pakistani journalists also strongly reacted over the controversial appointment and called it another attempt to further increase political tension in the country.


“I wish Mohsin Naqvi should have said 'NO.' But, than he is not the first nor the last in our field of journalism,” Mazhar Abbas tweeted.


“ECP made bad decision of appointing  Mohsin Naqvi as Caretaker CM. He is not impartial. Very disappointing decision,” Shahid Maitla wrote on Twitter



Meanwhile, legal experts also raised questions over the election commission decision and said the country’s top court barred to appoint any person involved in corruption or made a plea deal with NAB.


“NAB Vs. Hanif Hyder, (2016 SCMR 2031),Supreme Court held tht if accused civil servant exercises option of Voluntary Return,he cnt hold any public office either in Fed or in Prov Govt or in any state Organization.However, ECP thinks Mr. Naqvi is fit to be Interim CM,” a prominent lawyer Abuzar Salman Niazi tweeted. 


Outgoing Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi also announced to move the Supreme Court against the ECP's controversial decision.

However, analysts believed that Naqvi has close links with powerful establishments and politicians and he could use his influence to save his appointment. 

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