BAHAWALPUR, Feb 27: The name of Nawab Salahuddin Abbasi is “under active consideration” of the majority party for the slot of Punjab governor in the new setup, locals believe.
Dawn learnt that the PPP, the majority party at the centre, is at present examining a number of names to be appointed as the governor after the induction of its government at the federal level and Nawab Salahuddin Abbasi’s name is figuring high on the list.
The PPP leaders are of the view that the new Punjab governor, being a representative of the centre, should have a cordial relationship with the government to be installed by the PML-N.
Nawab Salahuddin, an opponent of District Nazim Tariq Cheema patronised by the Chaudhrys of Gujrat, enjoyed good relationship with PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif with whom he (the Nawab) had also met in London during his exile to seek tickets for his supporters.
At the same time, the Nawab also met PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto in London to secure PPP tickets for his men. Although he stayed away from formally joining the PPP, Benazir honoured his recommendations and accommodated his candidates who were granted party tickets to contest the Feb 18 election.
The Nawab formed his own group with representation from all main political parties – the PML-Q, the PPP and the PML-N -- and independent candidates.
With Nawab’s support, the PML-N managed to get some of the important seats of national and provincial assemblies in the district, including NA-187 from where ex-chief minister Pervaiz Elahi was defeated by PML-N candidate despite the backing of the district nazim group. In addition, ex-federal parliamentary secretary (PML-Q) Sardar Aamir Yar Warren, an independent, got elected an MNA with his support. Warren is likely to join the PPP.
If tipped as a governor, the Nawab could be acceptable to the PML-N whose formation of government in the Punjab was in sight. But, at the same time there was also possibility that the PML-N leadership might press the federation to accommodate PML-N Punjab President Sardar Zulfikar Khosa who was removed after the dismissal of the Nawaz Sharif government by President Pervez Musharraf on Oct 19, 1999 and the PML-N would be interested in vindicating Khosa’s position with the restoration of his slot as a governor.