LAHORE - Leader of the Opposition in NA Ch Nisar Ali Khan on Wednesday revealed the three names shortlisted for the caretaker prime minister.
On reporters’ insistence to divulge the names, Ch Nisar announced the names of Justice (r) Nasir Aslam Zahid, Justice (r) Shakirullah Jan and Rasool Bakhsh Palejo. He said PML-N did not believe in backdoor negotiations, so he had kept the whole process transparent.
Nisar said though he was not bound as the opposition leader to consult any other party, but PML-N had also taken into confidence even those parties which were not part of the Parliament. “We don’t want to conduct the people of our choice in the caretaker setup,” he added.
To a question, he said PML-N had no objection to dissolution of the assemblies and holding of elections to the national and provincial assemblies on the same day. But he hurried to add that PML-N would not dissolve the Punjab Assembly on March 17 if the role of opposition leaders in Sindh and Balochistan assemblies was not given to what he called the ‘genuine opposition’.
According to him, MQM was not a legitimate opposition as it had quit the government recently only to grab the opposition slot. “They have left the government under a conspiracy after remaining part of it for five years,” he observed.
The PML-N leader suspected that PPP was conspiring to steal the elections in Sindh and Balochistan by bringing a caretaker setup of its choice. He urged the Sindh chief minister to consult the 12 opposition parties’ alliance in Sindh for the caretaker chief minister.
Ch Nisar also took this opportunity to grill the federal government for its alleged bad governance and the resultant bad condition of the national economy. He threatened that if the PML-N came to power after the next elections, it would bring corrupt rulers, politicians and bureaucrats to task.
Justice (r) Zahid is one of the most respected names in Pakistan’s judiciary. He had refused to take oath under the PCO in 2000 under Musharraf’s regime and preferred retirement to serving under a military dictator.
Sources in the PPP told this scribe that the party leadership could agree to the name of Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid as the caretaker prime minister because it had no serious reservations against him.
But this is not the case in respect of Justice Shakirullah Jan who retired as a Supreme Court judge on August 17, 2012, after serving as the SC judge for about one decade.
The PPP leaders’ views about Justice (r) Shakirullah Jan are no secret. He is regarded as a highly biased judge in the party circles. Some of his decisions as the acting CEC in 2012 were also criticised by PPP.
One of the founding members of Awami Tahreek, Rasool Bakhsh Palejo, is a nationalist Sindhi known for his strong views against MQM. An ardent supporter of provincial autonomy, Palejo has been struggling for the rights of the lower class. His Awami Tahreek fully participated in the MRD movement along with other parties. He also underwent imprisonment from 1980 to 1986 during the Zia era.
PPP is also less likely to agree on the name of Rasool Bakhsh Palejo as the caretaker prime minister because of his nationalist stance. The MQM would also not like to see him as the caretaker prime minister for obvious reasons.