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Mehmood hints at ex-judge as interim CM

January 06, 2013

LAHORE, Jan 5: While the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and People’s Party have yet to start consultative process for an interim setup in Punjab, Governor Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood has hinted at likely appointment of a “retired judge” as caretaker chief minister.

The governor, who is from Muslim League-Functional, is tasked with developing a consensus between the PML-N and the PPP for smooth transition to an interim set-up as the Makhdoom is said to have good relations with Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

“Yes I am mandated to develop a consensus between the PML-N and the PPP regarding a caretaker set-up in Punjab and it will be done shortly,” Governor Mehmood replied to a Dawn query.

He, however, commented that “a retired judge” might be appointed caretaker chief minister of the province after a consensus was reached on the issue between the two parties.

“I think the caretaker prime minister will also be a retired judge,” he said when his comments were sought on the possibility of Mahmood Khan Achakzai being a consensus candidate for the interim prime minister’s slot.

Under the Constitution the chief minister has to consult the opposition leader before installing a caretaker chief executive in a province. However, it is widely believed among the PPP circles that Governor Mehmood and not opposition leader Raja Riaz will be consulted by Shahbaz Sharif in the matter, considering him a ‘true’ representative of President Asif Ali Zardari.

Mr Mehmood said he believed in developing better understanding with Punjab government for the welfare of the people of the province.

“I have given a standing instruction to my office to send me all summaries of the Punjab government and (will) I take no time in clearing them.”

He said that he was going to hold conferences on improving education, health and civic sectors. “I am here to facilitate the chief executive of the province in good governance. If someone expects me to issue statements hostile towards someone, he is mistaken,” the governor said.

Mr Mehmood is also keen on developing a better understanding among all political forces in the province ahead of general elections scheduled for May.

“I have invited all the members of the Punjab Assembly on Sunday as a gesture that I do not belong to any party. I am also holding an all-parties conference at the Governor’s House on Monday and seek their (parties’) suggestions on different issues,” he said.