LAHORE: The six-member Parliamentary Committee of the Punjab Assembly finally approved the name of renowned journalist and Geo News anchor and analyst Najam Sethi as caretaker chief minister of Punjab on the final day of consultations.
The body comprising three members each from the government and the opposition side has been discussing four names for the post of caretaker CM for the last couple of days. The names discussed during the meetings were those of: Justice (retd) Amir Raza Khan and former bureaucrat Khawaja Zaheer from the PML-N and senior journalist Najam Sethi and Justice (retd) Zahid Hussain from the opposition side.
At one stage, the committee decided to refer the matter to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Rana Sanaullah informed the media early Tuesday that they had failed to evolve a consensus on anysingle name and they decided to refer the matter to the ECP.
However, later on the Punjab chief minister conveyed that they had decided to approve one of the two names proposed by the PPPP and the parliamentary committee would again meet in the evening.
Following announcement by Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif, the parliamentary committee again met at 10pm at the Punjab Assembly and finalised the name of Najam Sethi.
Rana Sana announced the name of Najam Sethi in a talk with the media. He said the PML-N had given two names which enjoyed integrity and good reputation but were not approved by the PPP members. He said they could not evolve consensus in their early meetings, but kept their options open. He said the top leadership of Pakistan Muslim League-N again discussed all the names and finally they evolved consensus on the name of Najam Sethi.
Sana said the PML-N exhibited trust in Najam Sethi for his impartial analysis and impartiality. He said the PML-N had complete trust in Sethi though he was nominated by the PPP. He hoped Sethi would perform his legal and constitutional authority in an impartial way and would assist the ECP in holding fair and free elections in Punjab.
The six-member committee consisted of Rana Sanaullah, Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman and Malik Iqbal Channar from PML-N and Shaukat Basra, Chaudhry Zaheeruddin and Zulfiqar Gondal from the PPP.
Meanwhile, nominated Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Najam Sethi has said he will strictly implement the policies and directions of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and if he felt at any point of time that he is unable to follow and implement its directions to hold fair polls, he will quit the office immediately.
Talking to the media after six-member committee reached consensus on his name as the caretaker CM, he said it was his primary duty to ensure fair and free elections. About the caretaker cabinet, he asked the media what was the need for employing a big cabinet. He said their primary job was to hold fair elections within a stipulated time period and they were not supposed to make any policies, carry out development projects or make budgetary allocations. He said the size of his cabinet would be small and it would consist of technocrats because all politicians were busy in contesting polls. He said he did not want any pomp and show around him.
He said he was termed hot favourite in the list of four nominees and bookies had started betting on his name. He had been receiving phone calls from his friends and relatives for his being favourite but he kept telling them they should call him after the committee would finalise his name, he added.
He said he would try to look after the poor and needy persons like widows and orphans and try to do something good for the minorities. About his famous programme “Aapas Ki Baat” on Geo News, he said he would not do it till the time he was holding the public office.