Punjab

Main priority to make elections free and fair: Punjab CM Askari

Interim chief minister of Punjab Dr Hasan Askari on Saturday said that his top priority is to make elections free and fair.
Askari was nominated as the province’s interim chief minister by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) after a parliamentary committee had failed to reach a consensus over the proposed candidates by members of the then-government and opposition. He was sworn-in on June 8.
Addressing a press conference after visiting the national poet Allama Iqbal’s mausoleum in Lahore earlier today, the caretaker chief minister stressed that interim governments must provide equal opportunities to all parties.
“It is the responsibility of the interim governments to facilitate the election process,” he said.
Speaking about objections to his appointment as the caretaker chief minister, Askari said that the reservations will be addressed through the performance of the interim government.
He stressed that he will serve the province for a set period of time. Askari told the journalists that he neither had a political agenda in the past and nor does now.
Answering a question about the interim Punjab cabinet, Askari announced that he will have a ‘small and unbiased’ cabinet.
Free and fair elections
After his appointment, Dr Askari had said, “No party should worry over the transparency of the upcoming election.”
“We will ensure that free and fair elections are held,” he had asserted.
The caretaker Punjab chief minister had further vowed, “I will not use my position for wrong means.”
Responding to PML-N’s criticism regarding his appointment to the post, Dr Askari had said, “They have a right to express reservations and it does not affect me if they challenge my appointment.”
“I will fulfill my constitutional responsibility,” he had added.