Caretakers in place now

WITH the appointment of Chief Ministers of Punjab, KP and Balochistan provinces by the Election Commission of Pakistan, the process for installation of interim governments in the provinces stands completed. After finalisation of the name of retired Justice Dost Muhammad as Chief Minister of KP that was hailed by all, the ECP on Thursday picked up two names for Punjab and Balochistan that have raised some eyebrows.
There is absolutely no doubt that the ECP has done the job as per mandate given by the Constitution and the law in finalising names from amongst a panel referred to it by concerned parliamentary committees consisting of members from the treasury and the opposition benches. But it is also a fact that the way the Commission has done this is against the spirit of interim governments. The idea of caretaker government was incorporated in the Constitution with the aim of handing over Administration of the country to neutral people who could deliver free, fair and transparent elections. As the names are suggested by political parties, they have vested interests in proposing names for the purpose and that is why they stuck to their names and left the matter for the ECP to decide. It was now for the ECP to select a candidate that has not political leanings and his views are not for and against any particular political party. Apparently, the Commission has not kept this in view while announcing name of the Caretaker Chief Minister of Punjab and that is why it has been rejected by PML (N), which believes the decision shows the Commission was not as independent and neutral as it should be. Similarly better options were there in the case of Balochistan but here again the decision of the ECP seems to be based on considerations other than neutrality and fairness. Critics say the Commission has been fully empowered by Parliament but its actions could jeopardise its credibility as an independent electoral body.

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