Justice Baqar named as interim Sindh CM


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QUETTA/ KARACHI: Retired Justice Maqbool Baqar has been designated as the eighth caretaker Chief Minister of Sindh, succeeding the outgoing provincial chief executive, Murad Ali Shah.

This decision emerged from a consensus between Shah and the Leader of the Opposition in the provincial assembly, Rana Ansar, who jointly recommended Baqar’s appointment.

The agreement was solidified during a meeting held at the Chief Minister House, where both leaders signed and forwarded their recommendation to Governor Sindh, Kamran Tessori, for final endorsement.

The proposal to appoint former Supreme Court judge Maqbool Baqar for the interim chief minister position was put forth by the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

The official announcement is anticipated to be made imminently by the Chief Secretary of Sindh. Subsequently, a swearing-in ceremony will take place at Governor House Sindh, where Justice Baqar will assume office.

Justice Baqar’s extensive legal background includes his service as a Supreme Court judge and Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court (SHC).

Born in Karachi in 1957, he graduated in law from Karachi University and commenced his legal practice in 1981.

He was appointed as an additional judge of the Sindh High Court in 2002 and later became a permanent judge in August 2003.

His illustrious career led to his elevation as Chief Justice of SHC in September 2013, followed by his appointment to the Supreme Court in 2015.

The decision to appoint Justice Baqar as caretaker chief minister was reached after three days of consultations between Shah and Ansar, amid initial speculations that the matter might require the intervention of the Election Commission.

This timely consensus averted potential complications, as the decision had to be finalized within three days of the assembly’s dissolution, as stipulated by law.

Karachi Mayor Murtaza Wahab, who also serves as the Sindh government spokesperson, confirmed the collaborative consultation process between the Chief Minister and the Opposition Leader under Article 224(1A). Both leaders, Wahab stated on Twitter, concurred on the nomination of Justice Maqbool Baqar as the caretaker chief minister, in line with the constitutional provisions outlined in Article 224(1A).

The Opposition party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), endorsed the appointment of Justice (retd) Baqar as the caretaker chief minister. The decision was finalized during a Rabita Committee meeting led by Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, where consultation with the Grand Democratic Alliance culminated in the agreement.

MQM’s convenor, Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, emphasized the commitment to a fair, transparent upcoming election and the shared consensus between the government and opposition on Justice Baqar’s appointment.

Balochistan deadlockIn contrast, the nomination of a caretaker chief minister for Balochistan remains entangled in a deadlock.

Despite repeated attempts, the opposition leader in the Balochistan Assembly failed to meet Chief Minister Mir Quddus Bizenjo, resulting in uncertainty over the nomination process.

Potential candidates, including former provincial minister Prince Ahmed Ali and Mir Shabir Mengal, have emerged for the chief minister slot in Balochistan.

The situation remains politically sensitive, with the Jamiat Ulema e Islam (JUI-F) playing a significant role in the deliberations.

“Our opposition leader waited for three hours to meet the CM but failed to meet the latter,” a senior leader of the JUI-F told Daily City News on Monday evening. He requested anonymity because of the political sensitivity of the matter.

The religious group has nominated Mir Usman Badini, the former member of the National Assembly (MNA) as its candidate for the slot. The party has also formed a parliamentary committee to hold negotiations with treasury benches.

CM Bizenjo has reached Islamabad to consult his colleagues of the ruling Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) to bring his own blue-eyed as caretaker CM in Balochistan.

The names of Hamal Kalmati who belongs to the Balochistan National Party (BNP), Senator Kahuda Babar of BAP, and Mir Naseer Bizenjo are backed by CM Balochistan.

However, the BAP has not formally shared the names of its candidates for the CM with the leader of the opposition in the Balochistan Assembly. Ali Hassan Zehri, a leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) from Hub district has also made hectic efforts to win the coveted slot.

Mr Zehri also held a meeting with Maulana Abdul Wasey, the Balochistan JUI-F Amir to muster his support. However, he failed to do so.

A breakthrough with regard to the nomination of the caretaker CM is expected today since all candidates and political leaders have also reached Islamabad.

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