Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif revealed that after his impending consultation with Opposition Leader Raja Riaz today, the decision regarding the caretaker prime minister should be finalized. This consultation is crucial because if an agreement is not reached today, the case will proceed to a parliamentary committee, given that today marks the final day of decision-making following the National Assembly’s dissolution on August 9.
In a previous gathering with coalition leaders, PM Sharif discussed his meetings with Riaz, highlighting the delay in their second meeting due to other commitments. It’s been rumoured that Raja Riaz recommended Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani for the interim prime minister role, with the general elections looming next year.
President Dr. Arif Alvi recently reminded both PM Sharif and Riaz of their constitutional duty to propose a suitable candidate for interim prime minister within a tight three-day window. Sharif expressed dismay over the President’s reminder, emphasizing the 8 days typically involved in finalizing the caretaker PM’s name.
Constitutional Process for Caretaker PM Appointment
According to Pakistan’s Constitution, the responsibility is handed over to a parliamentary committee if the prime minister and the opposition leader don’t agree on a candidate within the allocated three days. This committee then has another three days to finalize the name. If this committee fails to reach an agreement, the Election Commission of Pakistan chooses the caretaker prime minister from the suggestions given by both the opposition and the government.
Shehbaz Sharif assured the media that coalition partners would be thoroughly consulted before making a definitive decision.
PML-N’s Stance on the Appointment
Ahsan Iqbal, a leader from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), emphasized the importance of consensus and detailed consultations. During a TV program, Iqbal expressed optimism that the caretaker prime minister issue would be settled amicably. He further clarified that while the PML-N hadn’t officially nominated anyone, the names of former finance minister Ishaq Dar and ex-premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had been circulating informally. Iqbal stressed that the chosen caretaker prime minister would independently select their cabinet.