Punjab Governor, Sardar Latif Khosa signed the summary sent to him by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for the ouster of 7 Pakistan Peoples’ Party’s provincial ministers.


LAHORE: Putting to rest speculations about a political standoff between the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in Punjab, Governor Sardar Latif Khosa on Monday approved the removal of the PPP ministers from the provincial cabinet.


Earlier, rumours were circulating that Governor Khosa would not approve the summary sent by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, and instead ask him to seek a fresh vote of confidence from the Punjab Assembly. But that did not happen.


After approving the summary, the governor sent it back to the Chief Minister Secretariat, which will now de-notify the seven PPP ministers, The Express Tribune has learnt.


According to the provincial information secretary, Mohyuddin Wani, the chief minister’s secretary, Dr Touqueer, has confirmed the approval of the summary and said that a notification would be issued on Tuesday (today).


On Saturday, the chief minister, while exercising his powers under Sub-Article 3 of Article 132 of the Constitution, advised the governor to remove the PPP ministers from the Punjab cabinet.


The seven PPP ministers to be sacked from the 16-strong cabinet are: Raja Riaz (senior minister), Tanvir Ashraf Kaira (finance minister), Neelam Jabbar Chaudhry (population welfare), Muhammad Ashraf Khan Sohna (labour & human rights), Farooq Yousaf Ghurki  (information technology), Haji Muhammad Ishaq (board of revenue) and Tanvir-ul-Islam (information & culture).


For the time being, these six portfolios will go to the chief minister, who is already looking after the affairs of 12 ministries. However, the PML-N is reportedly working on a plan to accommodate some lawmakers form the PML-Q ‘Unification Bloc’ in the new cabinet.


Governor Khosa approved the chief minister’s advice following a meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari at the Bilawal House in Karachi. Sources said that the president directed Khosa and other PPP leaders to avoid politics of confrontation.


“Some people are conspiring to create a situation similar to the one prevalent in 1990s, but we will not allow this to happen,” a party source quoted the president as saying. “I will request Nawaz Sharif to not break friendship with us,” he added.


Sources said a special meeting of the Sindh cabinet would soon be convened to review the performance of provincial ministers. “There is a possibility of reshuffle in the Sindh cabinet,” sources added.


Sources said that during his stay in Karachi, President Zardari will also meet Muttahida Qaumi Movement leaders and will offer them to rejoin the federal cabinet.


With additional reporting by Hafeez Tunio in Karachi


Published in The Express Tribune, March 1st, 2011.

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