ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has expressed reservations over the appointment of Dr Hasan Askari as caretaker Punjab chief minister, saying that he was an impartial figure who could jeopardise the electoral process.
Addressing a press conference in the federal capital, former premier Shahid Khaqqan Abbasi apprised attendants that Ayaz Amir and Hassan Askari were Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) nominees for the caretaker Punjab CM.
“Opinion of both [Amir and Askari] can be read on newspapers. The matter of appointment of caretaker Punjab CM will make whole electoral process doubtful”, claimed Abbasi while asserting at the same time that a neutral caretaker set up was mandatory to ensure transparent elections.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that it was unfortunate that Askari was selected as he was a vocal critic of the PML-N, and his criticism of political figures is well-known.
He said that it was necessary that an impartial individual was chosen to conduct free, fair and transparent elections. “It is unfortunate that Election Commission nominated Hasan Askari. It is necessary to choose an impartial figure to conduct free and fair elections.”
He said that Hasan Askari’s name was suggested by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, and the professor has indicated in his columns that elections can be delayed, referred to martial laws, and stated that elections should not be held in the extreme summers.
“It seems Hasan Askari is not well-versed with the constitution. This proves that he is not impartial,” he said adding that the parliamentary committee had sent Askari’s record to the ECP.
Calling on the ECP to reconsider its decision, he said that reservations will be raised if any an individual is selected who thoughts and mindset can be judged from his columns.
He said the nomination of caretaker Punjab chief can affect the entire electoral process, and this implies that election process will not be free, fair and transparent.
Ahsan Iqbal said that it was imperative that elections are held on July 25 as scheduled, as any delay will create an environment of uncertainty in the country.
“There will be a political crisis if elections are not free and fair which will be consequences,” he said. He said PML-N chief has given the slogan to ‘give respect to the vote,’ but now members are instructed to protect the vote.
“We cannot allow them to rob (the people) the right to vote. PML-N member will defend their each single vote,” he said adding that elections should be free and fair.
Khawaja Saad Rafique said they have utmost respect for Hasan Askari, but he cannot be accepted as Punjab caretaker chief minister under any circumstances.
He said that Askari’s opinion about the PML-N was unacceptable, and he had written several columns against them. He hoped that Askari would recuse himself from the position as he was not impartial.
The party sent its reservations to the ECP which categorically rejected all objections. Askari was nominated after the parliamentary committee failed to reach a consensus.—NNI