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Shahbaz Sharif.—File Photo

LAHORE: The PML-N has decided to sort out loan defaulters, bogus degree-holders and others with tainted track record from among its ticket-seekers instead of leaving the job to the Election Commission of Pakistan.

“The party will seek affidavit from applicants for PML-N tickets, stating they qualify all the conditions set by the Election Commission for contesting the polls,” outgoing chief minister Shahbaz Sharif told a press conference here on Thursday.

The affidavits are to be submitted along with applications for tickets. The hopefuls have also been asked to meet party chief Nawaz Sharif on Friday (today).

Shahbaz rejected both the names given by Opposition Leader in Punjab Assembly Raja Riaz for caretaker chief minister, saying “PCO judge and corrupt bureaucrat will not be accepted any way.”

The opposition leader had submitted the names of Justice Zahid Bokhari (retired) and former chief secretary Hafeez Akhtar Randhawa, while the leader of the house had nominated Justice Amer Raza (retired) and ex-federal secretary Khwaja Zaheer as caretaker CM.

Shahbaz refused to accept that there was deadlock on the interim set-up, pledging to agree within no time if the opposition proposed the name of an honest person for the caretaker government.

Objecting to retired judge Qurban Alvi’s selection as Sindh caretaker chief minister, he described him as a “right-hand man of right-hand man in Sindh (CM) of President Asif Zardari.”

Stressing the need for a transparent election process, he warned that manipulation in the elections could jeopardise the integrity of the country.

“Baloch leader Lashkari Raisani had recently told Nawaz Sharif that the Baloch are contesting final polls (in a unified Pakistan) and any wrong step could create an ill-will among them against the country,” he said.

Responding to a question about regularisation of services of 100,000 contract employees near the elections, the chief minister said he would abide by the Supreme Court verdict in this respect.

The Punjab government’s act has already been challenged in the apex court.

About Pervez Musharraf’s return, he said in principle a person like the former army ruler should face people’s wrath.

Earlier, flanked by some members of his thin cabinet, the chief minister presented an abridged five-year performance report of his government. He admitted that he could not change the culture of thana (police station), kutchery (lower courts) and patwaris (revenue officials) despite all efforts.

He said courts did not come under his domain but “there is a need to change its culture too.”

For controlling the patwari mafia, he said, the project of computerisation of land record was nearing completion.