CM being invited to governor’s oath-taking
LAHORE, Dec 22: In an attempt to ‘depoliticise’ office of the governor, an invitation is being extended on behalf of Makhdoom Ahmed Mahmood to provincial heads of mainstream political parties to attend his oath-taking ceremony at the Governor’s House next week.
Official sources told Dawn that the invitation had been extended to provincial heads of the PML-N, PML-Q, PTI and JI, besides Nawaz Sharif, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Imran Khan.
There is a ‘special invitation’ to Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. A good number of PPP leaders from Punjab, including Manzoor Wattoo, are also on the list of invitees.
It will be very interesting to see anyone from the Chaudhrys of Gujrat and the Sharifs at the ceremony if they chose to turn up.
If a friend of Mr Mahmood is to be believed it may not be easy for Pervaiz Elahi and Shahbaz Sharif to skip the ceremony because of his ‘seemingly good relations’ with both of them.
Mr Mahmood is a strong advocate of merger of all factions of the Muslim League. He had launched efforts to end differences between the Chaudhrys and the Sharifs, but he realised that the differences between them had reached a point of no return because of their ‘hatred’ for each other.
PML-N Senator Pervaiz Rashid told Dawn that Shahbaz Sharif would definitely attend the ceremony.
“Shahbaz sahib will definitely go as a Muslim Leaguer to the oath-taking ceremony. We are very happy to see Mahmood there,” he said.
Mr Mahmood quit the PML-F after accepting President Zardari’s offer to become governor.
There has been a mixed reaction in the PPP Punjab on Mr Mahmood’s nomination as Punjab governor. “I think the Governor House will now be an out of bound area for PPP workers,” commented a PPP Lahore office-bearer. He said it appeared that the party’s co-chairman had appointed the new governor after taking the PML-N onboard.
Another PPP leader is of the view that Mr Mahmood is a good choice according to the party’s reconciliation policy.
Habib Khan Ghori adds from Karachi: Outgoing governor Latif Khosa, who reached here in the afternoon from Lahore, went straight to Bilawal House without taking any questions from media men waiting for his arrival at the airport.
After his meeting with President Zardari, which lasted less than an hour, he again avoided the media and left for the airport to take a PIA flight for Lahore.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik also called on President Zardari.
After the meeting, he told newsmen that it was a party’s decision to change the governor and expressed the hope that it would augur well because Makhdoom Ahmed Mahmood was a non-controversial person.
He said the decision would strengthen the PPP in Punjab. There was no need to criticise it by other party leaders because “every party takes its own decision”, he added.
The minister said better ties between Pakistan and India would bring improvement in the region.
About his meeting with Manmohan Singh, he said the Indian prime minister wanted good ties with Pakistan. The two governments were engaged to bring both countries close to each other.
Mr Malik said the killers of Benazir Bhutto had been arrested and a formal announcement in this regard would be made at a public meeting in Rato Dero on Dec 27.