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PML-N leader Shahbaz Sharif. — File Photo
PML-N leader Shahbaz Sharif. — File Photo

LAHORE: Having attained simple majority in the National Assembly after the joining of 17 independent MNAs-elect, the PML-N has started asserting itself and asked the caretaker government on Friday to refrain from taking important decisions like appointment to certain key posts.

The party, which is poised to form government at the centre and at least in Punjab, criticised the caretaker government and described as ‘illegal’ posting of ‘notorious’ persons to offices like chairperson of the National Electric Power Regularity Authority (Nepra) and transfer of some federal secretaries.

“The caretaker prime minister should not make appointments (to certain key posts) at the behest of President Asif Zardari. He is listening to President Zardari but not us,” PML-N leader Shahbaz Sharif said.

He was talking to journalists at Raiwind after a meeting with National People’s Party (NPP) leader Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi on Friday. During the meeting, Mr Jatoi announced merging his NPP into the PML-N.

“The prime minister should respect the people’s mandate. The PM is legally, morally and politically obliged to respect this mandate but he is taking instructions from President Zardari,” Mr Shahbaz said, warning of a stern stance if the caretakers did not change their attitude.

In reply to a question, he said no meeting was scheduled between PML-N leaders and President Zardari. “We are going to Islamabad (on May 22), but only to call on the Chinese prime minister there,” he said.

The Chinese leader is due in Islamabad next week.

Ahsan Iqbal, the PML-N’s deputy secretary general, wonders what is forcing the interim government to take important decisions while the new set-up is going to charge within 10 days.

“It is illegal and outside their mandate to post federal secretaries and replace the Nepra head just days before the caretakers are going to leave the charge.”

“We respect mandate of all parties in different provinces and others should respect our mandate,” Mr Iqbal added.

In reply to a query about allegations of rigging, he complained that government officials were reshuffled in a ‘storm’ of transfers in Punjab while in other provinces nothing was done as President Zardari’s brother-in-law Fazal Pechecho was posted as Sindh additional chief secretary before the polls.

Ghaus Ali Shah, president of the PML-N’s Sindh chapter, said his party had already expressed reservations about caretaker chief minister of Sindh. “That’s the reason rigging was clearly observed during polls in Sindh,” he added.