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Scribe sworn in as Pak Punjab’s caretaker CM

world Updated: Mar 29, 2013 02:08 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times
Punjab’s caretaker chief minister

In a surprise development, a senior journalist and popular talk show host was sworn in as Punjab’s caretaker chief minister after political parties could not come to an agreement on any other candidate.

Najam Sethi, former editor of the Daily Times and current host of political show Aapas Ki Baat on Geo TV, was sworn in this week as caretaker chief minister in Lahore.

Sethi is the only one from a non-judicial background to be made a caretaker chief minister. At his swearing in, Sethi said that people consider journalists to be “mere critics” who do not know how things are actually run in the government. “Now, we [journalists] are inside and we will show you what we can do.”

Sethi also said he will not allow any bureaucrat to meddle with the election process or create hurdles in holding free and fair elections.

The former editor also talked about improving the province’s law and order situation. In the past, he has received a number of threats, including some from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. In 2012, he was forced to leave the country. He told reporters that he wanted to work on curbing crime and fighting terrorism ahead of the elections.

Nominated by the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, Najam Sethi’s candidature was confirmed by the opposition PML-N party after lengthy discussions. The PML-N, which initially called Sethi “pro-army”, finally agreed on him.

Party spokesman Rana Sanaullah said that Sethi’s candidature had been approved “in the interest of democracy.”

Many have said that they would miss his programme in which Najam Sethi would comment on the goings on of government and give insider gossip.

“Now who will give gossip on him?” asked fellow anchor Kamran Khan.

Caretaker CMs have taken over in all Pakistani provinces, and a caretaker PM at the federal level, in preparation of general elections to be held in May.