- “No other options left but taking to the streets against this system,” says Fawad Chaudhry.
- CM Elahi to move top court against ECP’s “controversial” decision.
- ECP writes to Punjab governor about administering oath to Naqvi.
Soon after appointing Syed Mohsin Raza Naqvi — a nominee of the opposition — as interim chief minister for Punjab by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Sunday categorically rejected the decision, declaring “Naqvi” as “controversial” personality.
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.
In a declaration, the ECP said that the meeting, chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, made the consensus decision to appoint Naqvi as the caretaker for Punjab CM.
ECP members Nisar Ahmad Durrani, Shah Mohammad Jatoi, Babar Hassan Bharwana and Justice (retd) Ikramullah Khan were among the attendees of the meeting.
Meanwhile, the ECP issued a notification in this regard and penned to the provincial governor about administering the oath to Naqvi.
Following the no consensus, the matter was sent to the electoral body under Clause 3 of Article 224-A of the Constitution.
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 speciation meeting of the electoral watchdog.
Khan and Iqbal briefed the meeting on the matter. The huddle decided the matter after considering all legal and constitutional aspects, the sources privy to the development said.
PTI rejects ECP decision
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senior Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry rejected the appointment of Naqvi as caretaker Punjab chief executive and vowed to launch a massive campaign against “this system”.
Reacting to the decision, Fawad said: “No other options left but taking to the streets against this system.”
He added that they rejected the ECP’s decision about appointing a “controversial” person to the key post.
Taking a jibe at the electoral watchdog, he said, “The ECP never disappointed them.”
Fawad asked the PTI’s activists to prepare themselves for a massive campaign under the leadership of Imran Khan.
Taking to Twitter, Fawad Chaudhry warned that people would “now make their own decisions”. He wrote, “[We] reject the appointment of Mohsin Raza Naqvi [as caretaker chief minister].
Asad Umar also took to the micro-blogging site and termed the ECP’s decision as a “joke to the Constitution”.
Criticising the decision, another senior PTI leader, Shafqat Mahmood tweeted: “The one man considered most unsuitable for this position.”
He also claimed, ” This amounts to virtually handing over power to [PML]N and PPP to conduct elections in Punjab.”
Elahi to move top court against ‘controversial’ pick
Expressing severe concerns over the ECP’s “controversial” decision, Punjab’s outgoing Chief Minister Parvez Elahi announced challenging the appointment of Naqvi as interim chief executive in the Supreme Court.
Reacting to the decision, the CM asked: “How can justice be expected from a person who made a plea bargain worth Rs3.5 million.”
The outgoing chief executive also said that the “controversial decision” was against every rule and regulation.
Mohsin Raza Naqvi in focus
Lahore-born Mohsin Raza Naqvi is a journalist by profession. He got his higher education in the United States and was associated with the American TV channel CNN during his stay in Miami. After returning to Pakistan, he served as the regional head of CNN.
According to a report, former prime minister and PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto, who Mohsin had interviewed, was the last person she contacted before her assassination.
Mohsin founded the local media City News Network in 2009 at the age of 30 and now owns six news channels and a newspaper. He is also widely known in the political arena and has strong relations with leading political figures.
Sunday (today) was the last day for the electoral body to pick a name for the caretaker chief minister.
It is pertinent to mention here that the outgoing Punjab chief minister Parvez Elahi had proposed the names of Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera and Naveed Akram Cheema while opposition leader Hamza Shehbaz had forwarded the names of Syed Mohsin Raza Naqvi and Ahad Khan Cheema.
The matter landed at the ECP after a parliamentary committee, constituted by the Punjab Assembly speaker, failed to evolve a consensus on a candidate for the slot of the caretaker provincial chief executive.