Raja Riaz, Opposition Leader in Punjab Assembly. - File Photo

LAHORE: In what appears to be a shift in strategy, the Pakistan People’s Party now has no issue with ‘retired judges’ to be the caretaker chief ministers.

Within the party, the PPP has finalised the names of Justice Chaudhry Muhammad Arif (retired) and Nawab Salahuddin Abbasi (Nawab of Bahawalpur) for the caretaker chief minister in Punjab.

Earlier, the PPP leadership had decided in principle not to approve of any retired judge or retired military officer for the slot of the caretaker prime minister or chief ministers.

“There will be no retired (army) general as caretaker premier or chief minister however the PPP has no issue in proposing the name of a retired judge for the coveted slots,” said a PPP leader who was engaged in shortlisting the name for the caretaker Punjab chief minister.

Talking to Dawn on Monday, he said since the PML-N and other parties also intended to propose the names of retired judges for the interim setup, the PPP did not want to oppose the idea “alone”.

PPP Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira had also said a ‘political person’ should be caretaker premier while Punjab Governor Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood had predicted the caretaker prime minister and Punjab chief minister would be a “retired judge”.

Interestingly, the PPP recommended the name of Nawab Salahuddin Abbasi for the slot despite his opposition to the proposed Bahawalpur Janoobi Punjab province.

It is learnt that the PPP leadership has finalised his name for the slot to win him back.

After finalising the two names within the party, Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly Raja Riaz accompanied by parliamentary and deputy parliamentary leaders Maj Zulifqar Gondal (retired) and Shaukat Basra called on the Jamaat-i-Islami leaders at Mansoora here on Monday.

Jamaat-i-Islami Punjab President Dr Wasim Akhtar proposed two names – Justice Mian Allah Nawaz (retired) and former bureaucrat Dr Safdar Mehmood – for the slot of caretaker chief minister in Punjab.

Shaukat Basra told Dawn that after consulting the leadership of other parties like PML-Q, PTI, Dr Tahirul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehrik, the two names would be forwarded to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif within 10 days.

He said the PPP would also try to develop a consensus on the names it (PPP) had proposed for the caretaker chief minister.

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