PTI withdraws Nasir Khosa's name for Punjab caretaker CM

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf withdrew support for Nasir Khosa’s candidature for Punjab’s caretaker chief minister.

The Punjab government and opposition on Monday had agreed to appoint Khosa as the province’s caretaker chief minister.

The new name will be announced after consultations said opposition leader in Punjab Assembly Mehmood-ur-Rasheed.

While speaking to media in Lahore, Rasheed had announced the selection of Khosa candidature for the position. Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif had later said consensus had been reached on the candidate, who is a former chief secretary. He had also praised the Khosa’s personality.

PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry, in an exclusive conversation with media, said that Khosa’s name was withdrawn as the candidate for Punjab’s caretaker chief minister because public opinion was not in favour of the candidate.

He further claimed that Khosa’s name was at the center of controversy.

“We respect him and he is an honourable person, however, a candidate should not be controversial and at this time Nasir Khosa’s candidature is not appropriate,” said Chaudhry.

A public perception was created that Khosa was a close colleague of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, thereby, the former’s candidature had to be withdrawn, said Rasheed.

“After the name was announced, there was a perception that Khosa was [associated with] PML-N. Nawaz Sharif said he had served as the principal secretary with him. There was discussion on this not only within the party but also amongst the general public,” stated the opposition leader.

“After discussions, the party has withdrawn the name given earlier. The new name which will be decided after consulting PTI chairman and party leaders will be sent to the chief minister.”

Rasheed admits ‘mistake’ in caretaker Punjab CM’s nomination

Opposition Leader in Punjab Assembly Mehmoodur Rasheed said that discussion in public circles and within the party suggested that Khosa was a PML-N affiliate.
During his appearance on media, Rasheed said Nawaz Sharif also praised Khosa, which was why his name had been withdrawn.

The PTI leader further said that they committed a “mistake” with regard to nomination of caretaker Punjab CM and “more seriousness and homework” was required in this regard.

Earlier, Rasheed said that PTI withdrew support for Nasir Khosa’s candidature after “severe reaction” from party workers.

The role of non-controversial caretaker government is very important with regard to the forthcoming general elections,” Rasheed told reporters in Lahore.
“There was severe reaction from party workers over the name of caretaker Punjab CM, after which it was decided to withdraw the name.”

Political analysts react to decision

Senior journalist said that reports to withdraw Nasirul Mulk’s name for caretaker prime minister were also being received after objections were raised against the candidate.
“Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf will not benefit from changing its decisions,” noted Mir. “[Decisions like these] point to a lack of political maturity of a party.”

Mir noted that the timing of the decision was crucial.

“A new candidate will be proposed by evening, after which the chief minister will mull over the new name,” the journalist observed. “The general opinion due to the timing of PTI’s decision will be that the party wants to delay the elections by at least one month.”

Mir stressed that a delay in elections will be detrimental for the country.

Director local TV channel Rana Jawad also criticised PTI’s decision. “The public opinion about Nasir Khosa could not have changed or surfaced within two days,” he said, adding that the party should have the courage to announce the real reason behind withdrawing Khosa’s candidature.

“Political parties tend to make mistakes but it is imperative that PTI must announce the real reason behind backtracking from its earlier decision,” said Jawad.