Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi accomplished his first task on Thursday when he had an eight-member caretaker Cabinet take oath on Thursday, four days after his appointment. The caretaker Punjab government, as defined by a court judgement, is thus complete. However, it has been made public that Mr Wahab Riaz, the Pakistan fast bowler, will also be Sports Minister, and will take oath when he comes home from Bangladesh, where he is presently playing for the Khulna Tigers in the ongoing 2020 Bangladesh Premier League. He is 37, and has not played international cricket since December 2020, when he played in a T20 International, while he played his last Test in October 2018. He is the first former Test player after Mr Imran Khan himself to enter politics. It was also noticeable that Mr Naqvi inducted fellow media mogul Amir Mir into the Cabinet as Information Minister. Mir Mir, after a long career in print journalism, was associated with Googly News, a web TV channel, while Mr Naqvi started with CNN until establishing his own media group.
Mr Naqvi has got problems with the PTI, which has reacted very negatively to his appointment. He was named by the Election Commission of Pakistan, which the PTI does not like, and it has filed a petition for his removal before the Supreme Court, as has former federal minister Sh Rashid Ahmed. Mr Naqvi’s candidature became clear when he was nominated by the Punjab Leader of the opposition. The first two stages of the caretaker CM-appointing process then went by, as neither the outgoing CM and Opposition Leader carried out any consultations, nor did the joint committee agree on a name. The Constitution then makes the ECP make the choice.
Perhaps the main task of the Naqvi government is to hold fresh elections on time. No date has been announced, which has given rise to concern, the PTI alleging that Mr Naqvi has been inducted to delay elections. It also alleges he is out to persecute it, an allegation strengthened by the arrest of PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry. Then elections might clash with Ramzan, and there is also the problem that the results of the census may be out by then. Mr Naqvi and his team have a hard task ahead, and only the holding of fresh elections, and on time, can give the lie this critics.