LAHORE: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday named Dr Hasan Askari as caretaker chief minister of Punjab.
The ECP nominated the analyst and professor as caretaker Punjab chief minister after a parliamentary committee failed to reach a consensus over the proposed candidates.
Dr Hassan Askari is a Pakistani political scientist and military analyst, noted for his work in comparative politics, nuclear weapons and the country’s domestic policy.
Speaking to Geo News after his appointment, Dr Askari said, “No party should worry over the transparency of the upcoming election.”
“We will ensure that free and fair elections are held,” he asserted.
The caretaker Punjab chief minister further vowed, “I will not use my position for wrong means.”
Responding to PML-N’s criticism regarding his appointment to the post, Dr Askari said, “They have a right to express reservations and it does not affect me if they challenge my appointment.”
“I will fulfil my constitutional responsibility,” he added.
According to ECP, the government had suggested Justice (retd) Sair Ali and Admiral (retd) M Zakaullah’s names for the post, while the opposition had suggested names of Ayaz Amir and Dr Hasan Askari.
On Wednesday, the parliamentary committee meeting ended in deadlock after the government and opposition representatives failed to agree on one name.
Rana Sanaullah, Malik Ahmed Khan, and Khuwaja Imran Nazir represented the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) in the committee while former opposition leader Mehmood-ur-Rasheed, Sibtain Khan and Shoaib Siddiqui were present from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) side.
Speaking to the media after the parliamentary committee meeting, PTI leader and former opposition leader Mehmood-ur-Rasheed said, “We had suggested dropping a name each from our list of proposed candidates. However, PML-N was adamant on appointing Pakistan Navy former chief Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah to the post.”
“But we rejected the name of the former chief of Pakistan Navy as he has no administrative experience and we want someone to overlook the province not a marine exercise,” Rasheed said.
The former opposition leader further said that defence analyst Dr Hassan Askari, who has been suggested for the post by PTI, is “neutral and intelligent. He not only criticises PML-N’s policies but PTI’s as well.”
However, the former opposition leader lamented that owing to PML-N’s ‘inflexible’ attitude the matter will now be decided by the ECP.
Earlier, Punjab government and opposition had agreed to appoint Nasir Mahmood Khosa as the province’s caretaker chief minister but later Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf withdrew his nomination after receiving “severe reaction” from party workers.
In the second phase of the negotiations, Shehbaz nominated former Pakistan Navy chief Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah, former DG Intelligence Bureau Aftab Sultan, Justice (retd) Sahir Ali and former IG Punjab Tariq Saleem Dogar for the post, while Rasheed presented the names of Orya Maqbool Jan, Yaqub Izhar, and Askari.
Dr Askari is a renowned political scientist and military analyst who is currently serving as professor emeritus of political science at his alma mater, Punjab University.
Source: Geo Tv