Najam Sethi named Punjab caretaker CM
LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has decided to appoint veteran journalist and political commentator Najam Sethi as Punjab’s caretaker chief minister.
PML-N leader Senator Mushahidullah Khan confirmed that the decision has been made that Mr Sethi will be picked up from the list of four nominees for the slot.
A six member parliamentary committee comprising three members each from the government and opposition side has been discussing four names for the post of caretaker CM for the last couple of days.
Rana Sanaullah, Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman and Malik Iqbal Channar had been representing the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz while the opposition side was represented by Shaukat Basra, Chaudhry Zaheeruddin and Zulfiqar Gondal in the commitee formed under article 224-A.
The PML-N proposed names of Justice (retd) Amir Raza Khan and former bureaucrat Khuwaja Zaheer while the opposition suggested names of Najam Sethi, senior journalist and political commentator, and Justice (retd) Zahid Hussain.
Later, talking to Geo News senior anchor Kamran Khan in his program “Aaj Kamran Khan Kay Saath” after being nominated as caretaker Chief Minister Punjab, Najam Sethi said his cabinet’s role would be confined to conducting transparent elections in the province.
In a lighter mood, Najam Sethi told Kamran Khan that from now on he himself would become a tweeting bird for the latter. The mention of the bird was made in context of Geo News program “Aapas Ki Baat” hosted by Najam Sethi in which he keeps mentioning a little bird that, he says, brings inside news to him.
The government and the opposition hammered out the consensus on Sethi’s name on the third day, the last day for the committee to decide the issue after which the matter would have been referred to the provincial election commission.
Earlier in the day Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif expressed the hope that the parliamentary body will reach consensus till midnight.
Najam Sethi born in1948.He is an award winning Pakistani journalist, editor, and media personality is the editor-in-chief of The Friday Times, a Lahore based political weekly, and previously the editor of Daily Times and Daily Aajkal newspapers. He also has a current-affairs program on Geo TV and owns Vanguard Books, a publishing house and chain of bookstores.
In 1999, he was arrested by Inter-Services Intelligence following an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation on government corruption, and detained for almost a month without charges. In 2008 and 2009, he was subject to death threats from Islamist groups for his papers’ anti-fundamentalist stances. On March 26, 2013, the government and the opposition agreed to make him the interim chief minister of Punjab.
Sethi won the 1999 International Press Freedom Award of the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists and the 2009 World Association of Newspapers’ Golden Pen of Freedom Award.
Sethi graduated from Government College University in Lahore. He received a Master’s degree in economics at Cambridge University in the UK, and spent two additional years there at Clare College as a PhD research student.
According to Sethi, he first conceived of the idea for an independent Pakistani newspaper out of frustration: while briefly imprisoned in 1984 on trumped-up copyright charges, no newspapers had protested his arrest. The following year, he and Mohsin applied for a publishing license under Mohsin’s name, since Sethi was “too notorious an offender” to be approved. Called into Nawaz Sharif’s office to discuss the application, Mohsin told him that she intended to publish “a social chit chat thing, you know, with lots of pictures of parties and weddings”. It was finally approved in 1987, but Mohsin requested a one-year delay to avoid the first issue coming out during the dictatorship of General Zia ul Haq. The paper’s first issue appeared in May 1989.