LAHORE: An utterly confused Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is embarrassing itself by not coming up with a consensus candidate for the post of caretaker chief minister of Punjab.

PTI-backed Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed on Friday, after due consultations, came up with two new candidates — Engineer Yaqoob Tahir Izhar and former bureaucrat and analyst Orya Maqbool Jan — and conveyed their names to Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal in a meeting at the latter’s chamber. Later, Mr Rasheed annou­nced the two names while speaking to media persons.

However, in a strange move, PTI information secretary Fawad Chaudhry tweeted that the party had nominated former parliamentarian and columnist Ayaz Amir and did not endorse Mr Jan’s nomination.

“The PTI has proposed three names for caretaker Punjab chief ministership — Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi, Ayaz Amir and Yaqub Tahir Izhar,” he tweeted and said that agreement on one name was expected by Saturday evening.

A visibly disconcerted Mr Rasheed said in a video message that after he had conveyed two names to the Punjab Assembly speaker and then announced the names in a media talk, the party asked him to include the name of Ayaz Amir in the PTI candidates’ list.

“I have now separately conveyed Mr Amir’s name to the speaker,” he said and added that Hasan Askari’s name had already been endorsed by the party.

“Now, there are four names floated by the PTI for a broader aspect and ease to select a name for the post of caretaker chief minister,” he said. “A final round of talks with Punjab chief executive Shahbaz Sharif will be held on Sunday (tomorrow) for the selection of a caretaker chief minister,” he said.

While there were rumours that PTI chairman Imran Khan had admonished Mr Rasheed over the faux pas, the latter was quoted as saying that he would protest if only he was held responsible (for the confusion).

Though the PTI’s earlier candidate Nasir Durrani had himself declined the offer to become a candidate for the office of caretaker chief minister, former law minister of Punjab Rana Sanaullah said that the PML-N would be ready to accept Mr Durrani.

When contacted, Fawad Chaudhry said that his party had contacted Mr Durrani again but he did not give his consent.

Mr Durrani had served in the PTI-led government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as inspector-general of police and reformed the police system. After retirement, he is now serving as a member of the Punjab Public Service Commission.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2018

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