Pakistan Reader# 542, 28 January 2023
On 27 January, the PTI filed two petitions in the Supreme Court against the caretaker Punjab Chief Minister and other ministers. In the first petition, the PTI sought the removal of Mohsin Naqvi as the caretaker Punjab Chief Minister and also restrain him from appointing a cabinet as well as deciding on the elections. The second petition sought the removal of National Assembly Opposition Leader Raja Raiz, SC’s intervention to hold fair elections and the disqualification of two Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) members.
This comes after an eight-member Punjab interim cabinet took the oath the previous day and Mohsin Naqvi who took oath as caretaker chief minister of Punjab less than a week ago.
PTI’s discord with the new caretaker chief minister
On 22 January, the ECP appointed Mohsin Naqvi as the caretaker Punjab Chief Minister after the parliamentary committee failed to reach a consensus. The commission picked his name from among four nominees as the PTI and PML-N failed to agree on a name. The PTI-PML-Q alliance had suggested the names of Naveed Akram Cheema, Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera, Nasir Khosa and Naseer Khan as their nominee for the caretaker Punjab CM while the opposition picked the names of Mohsin Naqvi and Ahad Cheema. Following the appointment of Naqvi, Imran Khan criticised the commission saying, “PML-N has history of selecting their own umpires but it’s incredible how ECP has selected a sworn enemy of PTI as Caretaker CM Punjab – a post meant for a non-partisan person.” The PTI later filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking to declare Naqvi’s appointment “null and void” and stop him from working as caretaker Punjab chief minister.
PTI’s discord with turncoats
The PTI also filed a petition against the notification issued by National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf to declare Raja Riaz as the opposition leader. PTI dissident Raja Riaz was appointed as opposition leader in National Assembly with the support of 16 lawmakers in May this year after 125 PTI MNAs resigned from their assembly. Riaz also led the group of PTI MNAs who did not tender resignations when the PTI decided to resign en masse after Imran Khan’s removal.
PTI’s discord with the ECP
The PTI in a petition submitted to the Supreme Court asks that the ECP be declared “partial and incapable” of holding a free and fair election. The petition also accused the ECP of being biased and alleged that the commission also with Naqvi approved the transfers and postings to bring officials who were inimical to the PTI. The party also demanded the appointments of two ECP members, Babar Hassan Bharwana and retired Justice Ikramullah Khan should be declared unconstitutional.
The PTI staged a protest in front of the Multan Election Commission Office against the appointment of the caretaker Punjab Chief Minister and ECP, terming the commission as a puppet in the hands of PDM. South Punjab PTI senior vice president Zain Hussein Qureshi while addressing the gathering said that elections should be held within 90 days after the dissolution of assemblies. He said, “It shows the unfairness of the ECP and imported rulers. How can elections be transparent under the shadow of such an ECP and such a supervisory setup?” Similarly, another PTI leader said, “Imran and PTI’s popularity has scared the imported rulers who are shying away from the nation. They have made no public service to face the people in the general election and doing the politics of interests. Imran Khan is their red line. Attempts are being made to minus Imran Khan for which Election Commission is playing a biased role.”
Nasir Iqbal, “PTI wants interim Punjab CM’s removal, SC intervention,” Dawn, 28 January 2023
“PTI challenges Naqvi’s appointment as caretaker Punjab CM,” Pakistan Today, 28 January 2023
“PTI protest rally demands impartial Punjab caretaker setup, ECP,” The News International, 28 January 2023