ECP appoints Mohsin Naqvi as interim CM Punjab, PTI cries foul

Mohsin Naqvi takes oath at Governor’s House n PTI, PML-Q alliance announces to move SC against ECP’s decision

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE        -      The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) yesterday finalized PML-N’s nominee Mohsin Raza Naqvi as caretaker Chief Minister of Punjab after two days deliberations.

The ECP made this decision in a meeting chaired by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja attended by all four ECP members of the Commission including Nisar Ahmad Durrani, Shah Mohammad Jatoi, Babar Hassan Bharwana and Justice (retd) Ikramullah Khan.

ECP Secretary Umar Hameed Khan, Special Secretary Zafar Iqbal Hussain, director generals and additional DGs of the relevant departments were among the 15 attendees of the special meeting of the electoral watchdog.

The huddle decided the matter after considering all legal and constitutional aspects, the sources privy to the development said.

The electoral authority’s decision comes after the failure of the government and the opposition to reach a consensus on the caretaker chief executive, the move appeared to kick off a new round of controversy in the country.The ECP was bound to decide the matter yesterday (Sunday) as the two-day time given to the Commission under Article 224-A of the Constitution was set to expire.

However, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) rejected Mohsin Raza Naqvi in its immediate reaction.

The top electoral body, in a press statement, said that a notification regarding the appointment had been issued while a separate letter had been dispatched to Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman for administering the oath to Naqvi.

According to the notification, “Pursuant to the proviso of Clause(3) of Article 224-A of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and as a result of detailed deliberations made on January 22, the ECP has unanimously decided to appoint Syed Mohsin Rana Naqvi as the caretaker chief minister, Punjab, with immediate effect.”

The opposition and the government, as expected before, were not agreed over the names proposed from each side so the matter was referred to the Election Commission of Pakistan [ECP]. The names of four nominees, two from the government side and one from the opposition, were received by the electoral watchdog for selecting one of them for the post.

Parvez Elahi had proposed the names of Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera and Naveed Akram Cheema while Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Sukhera and Naveed Akram Cheema while Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz had endorsed the names of Mohsin Naqvi and Ahad Cheema for the caretaker slot.

The appointment of the caretaker CM got delayed as government and opposition could not reach consensus over any name in the parliamentary committee meeting after the dissolution of assembly. As was being expected, the PTI-PML-Q alliance has rejected the appointment of journalist Mohsin Naqvi as the caretaker chief minister of Punjab by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), terming it controversial and against the law.

The two parties’ alliance has also announced to move the Supreme Court of Pakistan against the ECP’s decision announced just an hour before the expiry of the constitutional deadline for this appointment.“How can my closest relative become the caretaker chief minister?” asked Ch Parvez Elahi in a statement while describing the decision as controversial and against every rule and regulation. Parvez Elahi said they were going to challenge the ECP’s decision in the Supreme Court. “How one can expect justice from a person who took a plea bargain of Rs 3.5 million in the Haris Steel case?” he asked.

Also, PTI’s senior vice-president Fawad Chaudhry said that the Election Commission had proved with its decisions that it was a B-team of the PDM. He alleged that Mohsin Naqvi had been given the task of stopping the elections in Punjab or blocking the way of the PTI in the biggest province. He said the PTI will challenge the appointment of Mohsin Naqvi in the court.

“People have lost trust in the present system; they have to come to the streets for a decisive movement. Under the leadership of Imran Khan, the people will make the decisions of Pakistan themselves,” he averred, adding that they would thwart conspiracies made in closed rooms.

“Puppets have no standing; they only work on the whims of the performers. The people of Pakistan will rise like a sea and wash away the puppets,” Fawad asserted. In a late night development, Mohsin Raza Naqvi was sworn-in as care-taker Punjab chief minister. Punjab Governor Muhammad Balighur Rehman administered the oath to Mohsin Naqvi at a simple but impressive ceremony held at the Governor’s House Lahore.

The care-taker chief minister is likely to announce his cabinet today. Mohsin Naqvi has been a working journalist who later founded his own media group after having worked with CNN. He was born on October 28, 1978 and received his primary education from Crescent Model School in Lahore.

He graduated from Government College University (GCU) Lahore and moved to the USA for further studies in media.

The father of four, Mohsin Naqvi is a close relative of former Punjab Chief Minister Ch Parvez Elahi. He is also known to have friendly relations with politicians from all political parties.

Mohsin Naqvi is the second journalist after Najam Sethi to serve as caretaker Punjab chief minister. Najam Sethi was appointed caretaker CM ahead of 2013 general elections. Late Arif Nizami and Irshad Ahmad Haqqani have also been part of the caretaker setups in the past as information ministers.