Former bureaucrat Nasir Mahmood Khosa on Thursday excused himself from taking over as Punjab's caretaker chief minister citing the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's (PTI) sudden withdrawal of support for his nomination.
Announcing his decision, Khosa regretted that by supporting, then retracting his name, the PTI had turned him into "a controversial figure in the media."
"I was called by a member of the PTI core committee and told that they would like to propose my name for caretaker chief minister," Khosa told DawnNewsTV today.
Khosa said that during their telephonic conversation, he had been appreciated as a reliable and trustworthy person.
"Today, the same PTI is levelling allegations against me," Khosa regretted, before adding that he "does not want to get involved in such matters."
Meanwhile, PTI’s central information secretary Fawad Chaudhry said it will now be tabling the names of renowned writer and analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi and former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa inspector general of police Nasir Durrani.
However, Geo News reports that Durrani has excused himself as he is suffering from poor health.
Senior PML-N leader Rana Mashood said there would be no changes in the Punjab government's nominees for the caretaker post.
The PML-N had earlier floated the names of retired Justice Sair Ali and former IGP Tariq Saleem Dogar for caretaker CM.
"The PTI is playing childish politics," Mashood said. He also said the opposition had not contacted the government to renegotiate the matter as yet.
"With the mood the chief minister is in, I don't think he will want to discuss anything with the opposition," Mashood said, adding that he thinks the matter will now be sent to a parliamentary committee.
Meanwhile, PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah spoke briefly on the matter outside the Election Commission of Pakistan's Islamabad office.
"PTI has had a very non-serious attitude to the appointment of a caretaker chief minister," he complained. "They first assented to [Khosa's] nomination and then changed tack."
"This has never happened before," he said. "We had already sent a summary for Khosa's appointment to Governor House. If the governor doesn't sign it, the matter will be forwarded to a parliamentary committee."
In a surprise move on Wednesday, the PTI had withdrawn Khosa's name for the post of caretaker chief minister of Punjab after initially backing him. Khosa, a former federal finance secretary who has also served as the chief secretary of Punjab and Balochistan, was proposed by the PTI itself.
“Khosa’s name has been withdrawn following backlash on social media, public media and within the party,” Chaudhry had conveyed through a video message.
Soon after PTI made their decision public, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had expressed his surprise over the change of heart, saying Khosa’s name had been suggested by the opposition and finalised after a thorough consultation.
“It is beyond one’s comprehension why PTI withdrew the name of its own nominee after finalisation of the process,” he wondered at the time.
Later in the evening, CM Shahbaz had said that the issue of caretaker chief minister stood settled as a summary in this regard had already been sent to the Punjab governor and it could not be legally withdrawn. "The governor was expected to sign the summary on Thursday (today), he had added.
Talking to the media today, Shahbaz further criticised Khan and said, "how could a man who keeps taking such U-turns be expected to become the prime minister of Pakistan?"