When the clock strikes 12: Name of caretaker chief minister afloat as G-B lawmakers exit

By late Tuesday evening, well-placed sources told The Express Tribune that Sher Jehan Mir had been chosen as the caretaker CM.

They shared Pir Kalam had been replaced by Akbar Taban, from Baltistan, as the G-B governor.

As the lawmakers met for the last time as members of the G-B Legislative Assembly, Chief Minister Mehdi Shah and opposition leader Janbaz Khan were in a huddle with the federal government to appoint a caretaker CM.

“According to the governance order of 2009, the tenure of the G-B government will end on Wednesday at 12.01am,” said Speaker Wazir Baig, as he chaired the last assembly session of the incumbent house.

“A caretaker CM is likely to emerge within the next 24 hours,” said a senior official in the outgoing G-B government earlier in the day. “They have left for Islamabad on the invitation of the federal government to take part in the consultation for an interim chief minister,” he told The Express Tribune.

The Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009, under which the G-B government was formed in 2009, did not have a provision for an interim set-up. According to the official, necessary amendments were inserted in the governance order to allow for a caretaker set-up. The regional government is said to have constituted a committee comprising the federal minister for G-B and Kashmir Affairs in addition to the CM and opposition leader.

“There are three names in the running as yet. If they fail to build consensus over one candidate, the prime minister will use his discretionary powers to appoint a caretaker CM,” he added.

Fragile ties

“This is our last day in the assembly and we wish the region and those replacing us best of luck,” said Baig in his farewell speech on Tuesday as lawmakers paid tribute to him for his impartial role throughout his tenure.

According to Baig, the legislative assembly enacted 31 laws and passed about 100 resolutions in the public’s interest. “Now it’s up to the judiciary to take decisions in the light of these laws,” he said. “The incoming government should also honour resolutions passed by the assembly.”

Lawmakers praised the performance of the assembly, finding their work better than “the rest of Pakistan” as, stated law minister Ali Madad Sher, “What we did despite our limited resources is far better than [the rest of the] assemblies.” Sher was speaking on behalf of Shah.

The house was addressed by almost all the lawmakers who found the moment “historic” as the assembly successfully completed its term uninterrupted.

Of teachers and typos

Amina Ansari, a Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid lawmaker from Baltistan, tabled a resolution demanding corrections in the G-B government’s tourism department website. “The website has no mention of Imamia Noorbakhshia sect which is dominant in some areas. This is one of the errors that need to be fixed,” she said.

However, Sadia Danish, minister information and tourism, said a minor correction does not merit tabling of a resolution in the house. “It could be done if the lawmaker wrote us a letter,” remarked Danish. The resolution was nonetheless passed by the house.

Another resolution tabled by Rahmat Khaliq, Abdul Hameed, Yasmeen Nazar and others called for the restoration of 311 teachers sacked in the recent past over illegal appointments. “The government should restore them through an executive order,” said Nazar, who read out the resolution.

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