LAHORE - Prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan has voiced for bringing a young, highly educated and clean person as Punjab chief minister, but the question is whether such a figure will be able to deliver and meet the challenges.

The names so far taking round in the news for the PTI man for CM Punjab office include those who are a mix of young and old with clean characters although their academic qualification is above question. Of late, the name of Humayum Yasir from Chakwal is in the limelight after the names of Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Ch Pervaiz Elahi, Mian Mahmoodur Rashid, Mian Aslam Iqbal, Abdul Aleem Khan, Dr Yasmin Rashid, Fawad Ch, Sibtain Khan and Makhdoom Hashim Bakhtiar got the air.

Veteran politician and former Punjab chief minister Pervaiz Elahi appears to be out of the race since he has been named for the office of Punjab Assembly speaker. He held this office from 1997 to 1999. From among the rest, a different opinion can formed about the criterion set by the party head and none is certain to be picked up for the CM slot. The final decision as to who will be Punjab chief minister is to be taken by the PTI chairman.

The PTI chairman has expressed his vision to take the country ahead and steer it out of the current phase of economic difficulties. He aspires to select a team under his command that is capable of rising to the occasion and also able to deliver to materialise the promises made to the people. And for that matter he has chosen Punjab for making his plan a success that in turn has to give the PTI a political spiral in this province which hitherto has been the PML-N stronghold by virtue of its developments and public service.

The PTI has first time come to the rule at the national level, defeating the past practice wherein only two parties had been enjoying the power. In the stock experience of rule in the past, the party has only KP where it governed for five years. The KP has totally different dynamics from Punjab for dealing with things relevant to governance. Punjab has diversified economic, social, and cultural life corresponding to its largest population (about 120 million of the total 210 million) and has historically served as epicenter of political activities. In the current scenario, ruling Punjab is real a challenge.

In the new political dispensation, the PTI is going to face the PML-N as a very strong opposition as this party won maximum number of seats in Punjab. The PML-N holds history of giving this province mega development projects that had earned this party a huge public acceptance. Not that but there is also a trend of speed and work set by former chief minister Shehbaz Sharif. And the PTI man ruling the province will need to prove more active and speedy if the party needs to overtake and give a different look to the province.

Observers say the people in Punjab still cherish Shehbaz Sharif’s vision which was given a practical shape in health, education, agriculture, infrastructure, energy, rural development, IT and other areas of social development. Beating that impression and creating a new one will not be an easy task for the PTI’s new chief executive in Punjab.

The new chief minister will himself be in the gaze of senior party men while Ch Pervaiz Elahi, an astute and dexterous politician, will be saddled as custodian of the house as watchdog over his ministries. The mention of Ch Pervaiz also holds significance for the reason that he is entering the government after learning the lesson from both PML-N and the PPP that led him to ally with PTI as the last option.

Apart from that the Punjab under the stewardship of Shehhaz Sharif had also a reach to friendly countries like China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, etc. which not only cemented ties with Pakistan but also made investment in this province on the goodwill of the government.

Imran Khan’s choice for a young energetic, educated and a person of spotless character will indeed go a long a way to meet the party line for making a difference but along with that the new CM must be capable of handling all these things while wielding power. Otherwise the opposition will be there to shatter the PTI dreams. Therefore, a lot of brainstorming is required by the PTI head before finalizing the name for the CM.

After election results, Imran Khan had announced to follow merits and avoid going by expediencies in the appointment of chief ministers. He has so far announced the name of Mahmood Khan as KP chief minister and his decision has attracted mixed reaction as one section claims this decision was taken under pressure. However, Mahmood himself cleared the dust last day when he told the media that he was not a planted candidate of any senior in the party and vowed to serve KP dedicatedly and under the command of Imran Khan. A second thought is being given to Imran Khan’s decision of not using the Prime Minister House as austerity after certain security and administrative issues have cropped up.

In case of finalizing name for the Punjab chief minister, the decision acceptable to all will certainly go to lay a strong foundation for the PTI government, otherwise the party will be hard to carry the burden of any unwise decision. And the ensuing situation may prove true Khan’s apprehensions about meeting the fate worse than the MMA and the ANP if the PTI fails to deliver in Punjab which is going to be its reliance to show progress, the observers point out.

Ruling Punjab not a bed of roses