LAHORE: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is reported to have withheld an advice he had decided to forward to the president for the appointment of Sardar Latif Khosa as Punjab governor following strong opposition from PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif.
An official of the Prime Minister’s House told Dawn on Monday that Mr Khosa’s name had been cleared by President Asif Ali Zardari late last week, but the prime minister conveyed to him the matter needed to be reconsidered because the PML-N chief had serious reservations over the appointment.
“The PML-N has attached another string to its 10-point reforms agenda — appointment of the new Punjab governor should be made in consultation with it,” the official said, adding that after his telephonic conversation with the PML-N chief, the prime minister had deferred his advice to the president.
Mr Gilani has agreed to implement Mr Sharif’s 10-point agenda within the 45-day deadline given by the PML-N chief. “Nawaz Sharif spoke about allegations of corruption against Mr Khosa and said it would not be in the interest of the most-populated province to have a ‘tainted’ governor,” the official said. “I must say that Mr Khosa is unlucky because he had all preparations to assume the charge,” a senior PPP leader said.
He was of the opinion that it would be unfortunate to single out Mr Khosa because corruption charges had been levelled against all important people in the PPP.
“Now President Zardari will start the consultation process again after returning from a US visit starting on Jan 12,” he said, adding that Mr Khosa was heavily backed by business tycoon Malik Riaz and it would be difficult for the PPP not to ‘oblige’ him.
Besides the PML-N factor, Law Minister Babar Awan, who has a lot of support in the lawyers’ community, has also lobbied against Mr Khosa.
“Both are rivals,” the PPP leader said. “While the PML-N wants to have its say in the process there is no consensus on a name in the PPP.”
Other candidates for the post who are still lobbying include Chairman of the SNGPL board of governors Mian Misbahur Rehman, PPP Secretary General Jehangir Badr, Zarai Taraqqiati Bank Chairman Zaka Ashraf, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar and Evacuee Property Board Trust Chairman Asif Hashmi.
Some supporters and admirers of the slain governor have suggested the name of his wife Amna Taseer for the post.