Photo shows veteran journalist Najam Sethi, who was chosen as the consensus man for the position of caretaker chief minister of Punjab province on Tuesday, March 26, 2013.—File Photo

LAHORE: Well-known journalist Najam Sethi was selected as caretaker chief minister of Punjab on Tuesday after marathon deliberations by the treasury and opposition members in the outgoing provincial assembly.

Mr Sethi’s name had been proposed by the opposition comprising the PPP and the PML-Q. Its other nominee was retired Justice Syed Zahid Bukhari.

The treasury had proposed the names of retired Justice Amir Raza Khan and Khwaja Zaheer.

“We’ve confidence in the person of Najam Sethi and hope that he’ll show impartiality as caretaker chief minister like he has been doing impartial (political) analyses,” former law minister Rana Sanaullah of the PML-N told the media outside the Punjab Assembly late on Tuesday evening even before taking the party’s decision to the six-member parliamentary committee.

Both the sides had been sticking to their viewpoints for three days and had almost decided to refer the matter to the Election Commission of Pakistan, as required under the law.

But the PML-N leadership intervened at the last moment and called the party’s negotiating team — Rana Sanaullah, Mujtaba Shuja and Iqbal Channar — for a briefing.

A senior PML-N leader told Dawn that the party thought that had the matter been referred to the ECP the result would have been no different. He argued that the ECP had a majority of members likely to second PPP’s choice, a ‘fact’ which he said was visible in the selection of caretaker prime minister. By agreeing on the opposition’s nominee in the committee, the PML-N could at least try to occupy the moral high ground of honouring the opposition’s opinion as well as enabling politicians to decide important issues instead of looking towards retired judges, he added.

Mr Sethi is an experienced caretaker. From among all the names that have been discussed for inclusion in the interim governments tasked basically with the May 11 elections, Mr Sethi is the only one with a previous caretaker term to his credit. He was a federal minister in the caretaker set-up under Malik Meraj Khalid following the dismissal of the Benazir Bhutto government in 1996.

During his student life, Mr Sethi had fought along with the Baloch against army operation in 1974. Later, he shifted to Lahore and set up a books publishing business on The Mall, before bringing out a weekly, The Friday Times.

He had been picked up by security agencies during the previous regime of Nawaz Sharif in the late 1990s.

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Comments (30)

Jehangir
March 27, 2013 1:50 am
howzzatt? At last some one with a sense of humour.
open minded
March 27, 2013 2:01 am
Sethi Sahib is right choice
Ghani K
March 27, 2013 2:23 am
Country needs a person like him. Hope he injects some sanity in the current chaotic state of affairs.
Shaukat
March 27, 2013 3:13 am
it appears that N-League has surrendered to US for both Najam Sethi appointment as well as Musharraf return.
Kuldeep
March 27, 2013 3:28 am
Congratulation I will miss you on "AApas ki Baat"
Guru
March 27, 2013 4:03 am
Congratulations, Najam Sethi. There is some light in the dark tunnel, finally
Shaduram
March 27, 2013 5:24 am
Make Najam Sethi as the permanent CM and people like him- there are but a few - as the CMs of all other provinces. Then and only Then we will hope-a miniscule at that - for this poor country
mumtaz
March 27, 2013 5:30 am
Congratulation Sethi sahab we are thinking you must be prime minister not as care taker but parmanent, but how shall we get analysis during election
Malik from Australia
March 27, 2013 5:49 am
I am delighted that Najam Sethi has been chosen as the caretaker Chief Minister. All the Best for Najam.
KhanChangezKhan
March 27, 2013 6:48 am
I hope that Nazam will not take any wrong decision or actions which will put him in shadow of criticisms and block his brighten future.
Khalid
March 27, 2013 6:54 am
Are all other qualified people with administrative exeriance in Punjab dead? A journalist as CM? There is something fishy here!
zahid malik
March 27, 2013 7:33 am
Relatively reasonable !
Akash Paul
March 27, 2013 7:34 am
Very good selection. I had seen many interviews of Mr.Sethi on internet. I can tell you that he is brave and patriot intellect of Pakistan.
malik
March 27, 2013 7:53 am
His intellect has a PRICE, i bet.
Naila
March 27, 2013 8:18 am
Mature, patriotic and experienced although I don't quite agree with his pro-Asma Jehangir position.
imtiaz
March 27, 2013 8:27 am
We hail that common sense and sanity prevailed in great choice,
naeem waziri
March 27, 2013 8:36 am
Given the dirty nature of politics, particularly in our part of the world, it's almost impossible not to be cynical, but let's hope you are wrong. For, if you are right, then the light in the dark tunnel that Guru, see below, speaks about would actually be just another train coming.
Global
March 27, 2013 8:49 am
A journalist as caretaker CM? He should have rejected the offer. Journalists are supposed to be neutral and be on the side of common man, not the instrument of government.
Berliner
March 27, 2013 8:58 am
A very good choice. He deserves it. Congrats. Najam!
Gerry D'Cunha
March 27, 2013 9:13 am
zardar has really played his cards very well in selecting care-takers in central and provinces - that is why some months back he predicted his party to regain power for next 5 years - pakistan ka khuda hafiz
ahsan
March 27, 2013 9:21 am
Perfect for CM slot. Congratulations Najam Sethi Sb. Please do something about student union's revival. This is the only solution to religious extremism plaguing Pakistan.
A
March 27, 2013 10:06 am
I wonder why the PPP and PML-Q love Sethi so much. Probably because of his "neutrality"; they really love neutral people. After the whole Malik Riaz fiasco, this is just some bernol for Mr. Sethi.
Farooq Ali
March 27, 2013 10:56 am
What a bowl a star batsman of independent media eleven was out and is now back to pavilion who will now play the election match scheduled in May.
Ramesh Deshmukh, India.
March 27, 2013 11:01 am
I have been observing M. Najam Sethi on computer.I congratulate those who selected Najam.Mr.Sethi is intelligent and a balanced person. If Najam Sethi becomes the Prime Minister of Pakistan, he has the ability to bring peace and progress in the subcontinent
zkkhan
March 27, 2013 11:02 am
Being a regular listener of his program, to me, he is a better choice at least from mind set point view. How he practices his ideas in to practice one has to wait. Being chief editor of Friday Times his views on treatment of minorities are also very clear and he always advocated absolute Justice for all. The day has been nominate CM of Punjab cruelties have been committed to families belonging to Ahmadiyya Group in his province. How he deals the matter will be a great test what he preaches and what he will practice. Care taker CM is not only for election rather has to take care of all the matters in the province for the period he stays in CM office. Let us see What Mr Sethi does now.
MSAlvi
March 27, 2013 11:07 am
He is a caretaker CM, not permanent. It happens in USA also.
MSAlvi
March 27, 2013 11:10 am
Asma is also an extremist.
MSAlvi
March 27, 2013 11:14 am
I think it is a good choice. Other qualified people have disqualified experience, which is no good.
MSAlvi
March 27, 2013 11:19 am
It is easy to blame US for every thing that goes wrong in Pakistan. Are the people of Pakistan and government of Pakistan doing every thing right?
Madhu
March 28, 2013 9:15 am
what about muneeb?...LOL
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