LAHORE/Islamabad  -  In what is being dubbed as another U-turn by the PTI, Opposition Leader in Punjab Assembly Mian Mehmoodur Rashid on Wednesday withdrew the name of his party’s nominee Nasir Mehmood Khan Khosa for the office of caretaker Punjab chief minister.

This about-turn comes at the heels of another such decision made only a couple of days ago wherein the party had withdrawn the name of its nominee, Manzoor Afridi, for the slot of KP caretaker chief minister.

Mr Rashid announced yesterday that his party would propose new names for the caretaker slot in Punjab after holding intra-party consultation.

“We made a mistake by recommending Khosa’s name in haste,” he said, while addressing a news conference here. He said the new name would be announced within 24 hours.

PTI chief Imran Khan also chaired an important meeting of party’s central leadership on Wednesday in Islamabad, according to the PTI central media department.

The meeting withdrew the nomination of Nasir Khosa for caretaker Punjab chief minister slot, citing strong public reaction as the reason.

PTI central leadership also approved the names of Himayatullah and Ejaz Qureshi for the caretaker chief minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The meeting also condemned the ‘last-minute appointments’ made in the centre and Punjab by the outgoing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government.

It formed committees to review and analyze the appointment of Advocate General Punjab as well as the 14 law officers, chief of Pemra, HEC, PIA, and CAA.

The party also criticised Ali Jahangir Siddiqui’s appointment as Ambassador to the US.

The meeting condemned the Punjab government after audit reports allegedly exposed irregularities worth Rs166 billion in 56 companies, and vowed to bring the details before the nation.

U-turn on Punjab caretaker

The name of former Punjab chief secretary Nasir Khosa was announced as Punjab caretaker CM after a meeting between Rashid and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday.

Shehbaz then took to twitter to announce that Nasir will be Punjab’s caretaker chief minister and the decision had been taken unanimously after holding several rounds of talks with the opposition leader.

“Glad to announce that Leader of the Opposition in Punjab [Assembly] and I have agreed on the name of Nasir Saeed Khosa [sic] as caretaker Chief Minister Punjab for interim setup. Another step towards strengthening democratic process,” Shehbaz Sharif said in his tweet.

The explanation given by the party for withdrawal of the name is even more confusing than the decision itself.

Mr Rashid said the previous announcement was made in hast as there was some confusion and misunderstanding over the names of Tariq Masood Khosa and Nasir Mahmood Khosa.

Tariq and Nasir are brothers of senior Supreme Court judge Asif Saeed Khosa, and apparently because of his name the media is mentioning Tariq Masood Khosa and Nasir Mahmood Khosa as Tariq Saeed Khosa and Nasir Saeed Khosa.

Even Punjab chief minister wrote Nasir’s name as Nasir Saeed Khosa in his Monday’s tweet.

Opposition Leader Mahmoodur Rashid also called him Nasir Saeed Khosa in his media talk.

Interestingly, Rasheed shared that PTI chief Imran Khan had cleared the name of Nasir Khosa for the caretaker chief minister.

Then he went on to say that ever since his nomination, Nasir had become a controversial figure with lot of criticism coming from different quarters on the social and public media.



PTI’ Central Secretary Information Fawad Ch said that PTI had earlier given his name keeping in view his capability, administrative qualities and his track record.

He said Nasir Khosa was known as a competent officer but when his name was made public, there came a reaction [against him] from the social media and also from within the party.

“It was in the light of this reaction that PTI has decided to withdraw his name,” he said informing the media about the decisions of Islamabad meeting.

Fawad said that it was decided in the party’s core committee meeting that it would not be wise to create a controversy [over nomination of caretaker chief minister] which may escalate further.

“In order to end the disagreement it has been decided to take back the name of Mr Khosa and propose new names”, he concluded.

Sources privy to the PTI huddle in Islamabad said that there was serious disagreement within the party over nomination of Nasir Khosa.

They said that Jahangir Tareen group was supporting the name of Mr Khosa while Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s group was bitterly opposed to his name.




Islamabad meeting decisions

As far the details of the Khan-chaired meeting, the party top brass strongly criticised the Punjab government over the irregularities worth Rs166 billion found in the audit report of 56 companies.

The leadership directed Shafqat Mehmood to bring details of the massive irregularities before the nation.

On the issue of last-minute appointments, two committees were formed to review and analyse the appointments in Punjab, Sindh and the centre.

A committee comprising Fawad Choudhry, Shafqat Mehmood and Babar Awan will look into the appointments made in the centre and Punjab while the second committee comprising Dr Arif Alvi and Liaqat Jatoi will assess the appointments made in Sindh by the outgoing PPP regime.

The party central leadership congratulated the people of Fata for the long-awaited merger into KP and also demanded of the Election Commission of Pakistan to make arrangements and issue date for the elections in Fata.

The PTI said that it was all set to contest elections in every nook and corner of the country.

During the meeting, Central Additional Secretary General Arshad Daad was directed to make district level reconciliation committees.

Moreover, it has been decided to hold meetings of the parliamentary board and start the process of issuing tickets to the candidates and the leadership also deliberated on the strategy to address possible disputes expected to arise as a result of the distribution of tickets.



Legal notice to journalist

The PTI has served a legal notice to Aaj News anchorperson Ghareeda Farooqi, seeking unconditional apology over the allegations she had levelled against the PTI and its chief regarding the nomination of the KP caretaker chief minister.

PTI leader Babar Awan has sent the legal notice to the anchorperson on behalf of central media department head Iftikhar Durrani, seeking unconditional apology over her unwarranted tweets in which she had levelled serious allegations against the PTI and its leadership.

The notice demanded Farooqi to immediately remove the malicious tweets and a tender apology within seven days or pay Rs1 billion as damages, otherwise, all legal remedies available under the law would be availed by the PTI.

The notice said that how someone could accuse Imran Khan of corruption who has dedicated his life to fighting corruption.

“The relentless pursuit of the Panama Papers and kicking out more than a dozen MPAs from the government risking his party’s government in KP, are the instances which shows his commitment to a corruption-free Pakistan,” Durrani said.

He said that Farooqi must withdraw her insulting allegations and tender unconditional apology immediately.

Meanwhile, some more politicians from south Punjab on Wednesday joined the PTI. They included Raees Mahboob from Rahim Yar Khan; Imam Buksh Jatoi, the brother of Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi and his son Shah Nawaz Jatoi and former MPA Agha Imtiaz Ali Khan Babar.



After KP, PTI flip-flops on Punjab’s caretaker