LAHORE - Senator Muhammad Rafiq Rajwana advocate was nominated for the slot of the Punjab governor mainly for the reason of his loyalty to the party and its leadership in addition to his qualification of being a pure Saraiki and not a settler. Rajwana was earlier elected a senator on South Punjab seat.

He has been appointed the governor with the gap of more than three months when Ch Muhammad Sarwar resigned in January last.

The PML-N top leadership examined over a dozen names to assess their efficacy for the party, the need of the province and the experience which the PML-N had to face due to Ch Muhammad Sarwar who had been made the governor with a lot of hopes, but the party came across sheer disappointment when he quit the office, levelling serious allegations against the government and its functionaries.

The party wanted a man from South Punjab also in view of the upcoming local government elections. And Rajwana who belongs to middle class having no feudal and industrial background was found fit for the job.

The party had other two names from South Punjab that were Saud Majid and Ch Jaffar Iqbal, but they were settlers and not Saraikis, which was the preference of the party leadership.

The sources aware of the background developments say that the party leadership had made up its mind in mid March last to appoint Rajwana as the governor. However, he was the second choice after Acting Governor and Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Iqbal, but he refused and preferred to remain in the political arena as he did not want to leave his constituency open for his political rivals in Phoolnagar.

Rafiq Rajwana who belongs to Multan enjoys deep political affiliation with the PML-N. During the hardest days for the party in the Musharrraf era when Sharifs were living in Saudi Arabia, he rejected pressure from the military regime and remained resolute and loyal to the party.

Rajwana, a practicing lawyer who had also held the office of Multan High Court Bar Association president had provided legal assistance to the Sharifs in the plane hijacking case. Later, he defended the then MPL-N leader Javed Hashmi in the sedition case against him.

He was made a senator of the PML-N in 1998 and in 2012 for his services and loyalty to the party and the Sharifs.

As a senator, he remained a member of various committees of the Senate as well as a member of the Judicial Committee of the Parliament for the appointment of judges.

Sources in the party say in addition to credentials of Rajwana as a highly confidant of the party leadership, his value has also been assessed for the development projects in South Punjab. So a person familiar with the locals and able to act as a bridge between the people and the government was needed, who could address the masses’ problems and win their support before the local government elections.

With the appointment of Rajwana as the Punjab governor, now Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa is the only one senator of the PML-N from South Punjab. Sardar Zulfiqar stands aloof from the party after differences with the party leadership. The situation demanded such a person from South Punjab as could play a bigger role in bolstering the party position and enhancing its vote bank. Besides issues relating to the availability of basic necessities like drinking water, facilities of health, education, transport and clean environment to the people, there are other issues like a separate province for South Punjab, which the government has to deal with. Rajwana who is not likely to deviate from the party line needs to play a major role in all these matters, political analysts say. They say unlike his predecessor, Rajwana is sure to become a helping hand of the Punjab chief minister and his government and not critique of their policies and decisions. As such he is the best choice under the circumstances, they add.