Najam Sethi selected as interim Chief Minister Punjab

Najam SethiNajam Sethi, senior journalist, book publisher, editor of The Friday Times, and participant of talk show Aaps ki Baat at Geo News, has been selected as interim Chief Minister Punjab.

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.

The provincial parliamentary committee finally resolved the deadlock and named Najam Sethi as caretaker Chief Minister Punjab, about two hours before the deadline on Tuesday — the third and last day for the committee to reach a consensus on the matter.

The News reports:

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 stories to him.

Wikipedia profile of Najam Sethi:

Najam Sethi (born c. 1948) is the 16th and current (caretaker) chief minister of Punjab. He is an award winning Pakistani journalist, editor, and media personality, 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 popular current-affairs program on Geo TV called “Aapas ki Baat” 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.

On March 26, 2013, his name was approved for the interim position of the chief minister of Punjab as a result of consensus between members of the selection committee comprising individuals from both the governing and the opposing political parties.

The role of Media is to be a watchdog over politics and affairs of state. Media persons, especially the journalists, are required to observe, analyze, and comment – forming opinions and educating the masses. If they take up administrative and semi-political jobs, they may not remain fair to their profession.

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