LAHORE, April 8: The PML-N has formally nominated Dost Muhammad Khosa, the son of former Punjab governor Sirdar Zulfikar Khosa, as its candidate for the slot of Punjab chief minister.
Party president Mian Shahbaz Sharif announced the decision at a media briefing after a PML-N parliamentary meeting late on Tuesday evening.
Senior parliamentarian Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan (from Kasur district) would be PML-N's nominee for the office of speaker and Rana Mashhud Ahmad (from Lahore) for deputy speaker, he added.
Sharif said according to the schedule given to them by the authorities polls to the offices of speaker and deputy speaker would be held on April 10, a day after the MPAs-elect would take oath of their office on April 9 (today).
Election to the office of chief minister would be held on April 12 (Saturday) as the speaker would take oath to his office a day before, he added.
CM-designate Dost Muhammad Khosa told Dawn that upholding democratic norms would be his top priority as unlike the Sindh Assembly the opposition (the PML-Q) would not be harassed in the Punjab Assembly.
Strict instructions to party activists had been conveyed in this respect, he said, adding he would try giving no chance to the opposition to boycott the house proceedings at any occasion.
Giving a short policy statement about PML-N government's priorities, Sharif announced 70 per cent cut in the expenses of Chief Minister's House and selling out all but two of the 200-vehicle fleet of the CM and investing the money thus accrued in public transport.
The new CM, he added, would operate from the old CM House while the new one reportedly built at a cost of Rs1.5 billion would be converted into an IT university for women.
He also promised to put an end to what he called apartheid in education system and starting a public health insurance scheme.
"Various working groups are formulating strategies for overcoming the crises being inherited by the new government from the eight-year dictatorial rule and their reports would be made public soon."
Claiming he wont indulge in political vendetta, he said "wasteful" use of public money by the former rulers would be probed into and legal proceedings, if need be, initiated.
He, however, hastened to add the accountability would be `above board’ and placed into the hands of those who would be enjoying trust of the nation.
Reiterating his party's resolve to restore the pre-emergency judiciary, Sharif said the government was unwavering on the issue and added that all promises made with the masses would be fulfilled.
Condemning manhandling of former federal minister Dr Sher Afgan allegedly by a group of lawyers in Lahore, he doubted the identity of the assailants and said `agents of dictatorship’ and not the black coats were involved in the incident to defame the coming government.
Blaming the presidency for hatching conspiracies against nascent democracy, he said all these intrigues would be foiled with the support of the masses.
Terming the caretaker setup an extension of the former government, he demanded it should probe into the incident and bring culprits to the book.