The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday withdrew the nomination of Nasir Mahmood Khosa as caretaker chief minister of Punjab — merely two days after their own leader, Mahmoodur Rasheed, had finally reached an agreement with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to appoint him to the post.
Rasheed, the opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly, today said his party's core committee had decided that Khosa's name would be withdrawn.
He added that the decision was taken after a "general reaction" to the proposal to appoint Khosa. He said that Khosa is known to be associated with the PML-N and could not be a suitable candidate for the PTI.
He said the Punjab chief minister would be given a new name for caretaker CM within a few hours.
Later, the PTI's Information Secretary Fawad Chaudhry said that Khosa's name was given by the party considering his qualifications and his track record. However, he said that there was an immediate reaction on social media, conventional media and within the party following the announcement.
Chaudhry said that the party was withdrawing the name "since elections are a very sensitive issue and conducting elections in Pakistan is a very difficult job so it won't be appropriate for a controversy to be created and [allowed to] grow".
Interestingly, the name of Nasir Mahmood Khosa, a former federal finance secretary who has also served as the chief secretary of Punjab and Balochistan, had been proposed by the PTI itself and finalised after much haggling by Sharif and Rasheed in a meeting at the PML-N’s Model Town office on Monday.
This is the second withdrawal of an already nominated caretaker chief minister in recent days. The PTI was earlier forced to withdraw the name of Manzoor Afridi for caretaker CM of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after severe backlash from other parties in the province, who had pointed to his deep ties to a PTI lawmaker and other party sympathisers.