Anwarul Haq Kakar named Pakistan’s caretaker PM
Anwarul Haq Kakar has been chosen as the interim prime minister of Pakistan, Outgoing Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly (NA) Raja Riaz said on Saturday.
He made the revelation in a media talk outside the Prime Minister's House after the final round of consultations were held between the opposition leader and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Talking to reporters in Islamabad yesterday, PM Shehbaz had expressed confidence that the name of the head of the interim set-up would be finalised by Saturday.
He also hosted a dinner for leaders of the outgoing ruling alliance last night during which he held a second round of consultations with the opposition leader.
The first meeting for deliberations was held at the Prime Minister's House on Friday, a day after the premature dissolution of the NA. They are expected to meet again today for the final round of consultations.
Sources privy to the current political situation told Dawn that the delay in nominating a caretaker prime minister was apparently because Raja Riaz, generally believed to be a "friendly opposition leader", came out to be a different man, as he had been insisting on his candidate instead of agreeing to the names suggested by the PML-N.
Sources said PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif was insisting, through PM Shehbaz Sharif, on former finance minister Ishaq Dar to be picked as caretaker premier, and if not Dar, then former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
However, Riaz, a PTI dissident with no backing of a political party, was getting dictation from another power corridor and insisting on the name of Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, sources claimed. Sanjrani called on Riaz on Friday, as well as Dar and Ahsan Iqbal.
Bad blood between president, premier resurfaces
Meanwhile, bad blood between President Arif Alvi and PM Shehbaz resurfaced on Friday when the former wrote to the premier, asking him to appoint a caretaker prime minister within 24 hours.
In a letter written to PM Shehbaz and Mr Riaz on Friday, President Alvi recalled that he had dissolved the National Assembly on the premier's advice on Aug 9.
"Under provision to Article 224 (1A) of the Constitution, President appoints caretaker prime minister in consultation with the prime minister and leader of the opposition in the National Assembly," he wrote. "Under Article 224A of the Constitution, the prime minister and the leader of the opposition in the outgoing National Assembly are required to propose the name of a person for the appointment of caretaker prime minister within three days of the dissolution of the National Assembly."
President Alvi then directed PM Shehbaz and Riaz to propose the name of the interim premier "not later than" Aug 12.
However, talking to journalists later, PM Shehbaz expressed his displeasure over the letter and said he still had eight days to serve as prime minister, adding that the president had no knowledge about the procedure of appointment of the caretaker prime minister as prescribed in the Constitution.
A senior PML-N senator told Dawn that no person with political affiliation should be handed over the caretaker charge and no stakeholder should pressurise the other in this regard.
On the names of Ishaq Dar and Sadiq Sanjrani for the interim set-up, the senator said appointing any political figure could mar transparency and fairness in the next general elections. He added that the ECP, which is responsible for holding fair elections, could reject the nomination of any political appointee.
Another senior PML-N leader termed Sanjrani a "dark horse".
Other possible contenders for the caretaker premier are Jilal Abbas Jilani, former finance ministers Dr Hafeez Sheikh and Ishaq Dar, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former principal secretary Fawad Hassan Fawad, former justice Tassaduq Jilani, Abdullah Hussain Haroon, Pir Pagaro, and Makhdoom Mehmood Ahmed.