President Alvi approves appointment of Kakar as caretaker premier

ISLAMABAD:

Senator Anwaarul Haq Kakar was named the caretaker prime minister on Saturday following the final round of consultation between outgoing premier Shehbaz Sharif and Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly (NA) Raja Riaz.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said the final consultation session was successfully completed and the two agreed on Kakar’s name.

“The prime minister and leader of the opposition jointly signed the advice and it was sent to the president,” said the PMO.

Shehbaz also thanked Riaz for his cooperation during the consultation process and for his excellent leadership of the opposition during the past 16 months.

Former information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb also confirmed that Kakar will take over as the caretaker premier.

President approves Kakar’s appointment

President Arif Alvi approved the appointment of Senator Anwaarul Haq Kakar as the caretaker prime minister under Article 224(1A) of the Constitution.

The president signed the advice at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, soon after it was dispatched for his approval.

President Arif Alvi approving the appointment of Anwarul Haq Kakar as caretaker premier. PHOTO: President's House

President Arif Alvi approves the appointment of Anwarul Haq Kakar as caretaker premier. PHOTO: President’s House

Who is Senator Kakar?

Senator Anwaarul Haq Kakar was elected to the upper house in 2018 on an independent ticket, according to the Senate website.

Prior to that, he was the spokesperson for the Balochistan government in 2013 and in 2008 he ran for the National Assembly from Quetta on a Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid ticket. He had also co-launched a political party, Balochistan Awami Party (BAP).

He is currently the chairperson of a Senate standing committee.

Kakar holds a masters degree in political science and sociology from the University of Balochistan.

Caretaker PM consultations

 

Speaking to journalists in Islamabad a day earlier, Shehbaz said that the Constitution of Pakistan gives eight days to appoint the caretaker PM after the dissolution of assemblies.

On August 9, President Arif Alvi dissolved the National Assembly on the advice of the incumbent premier, setting the stage for general elections latest by November 9.

The Constitution gives a 90-day timeframe for holding the elections upon the dissolution of the assembly before the end of its five-year term.

With the dissolution of the assembly, the country is all set to go to the general election, while it grapples with political and economic crises, despite having secured an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan programme.

Read Caretaker PM: Big surprise in waiting

However, former federal ministers from Shehbaz’s cabinet have given rise to speculations that the general elections may face delays after the approval of census 2023 was notified. As it may take the Election Commission of Pakistan up to 120 days to finalise new delimitations.

The National Assembly was scheduled to complete its term on Aug 12 but the prime minister, while using his powers under Article 58(1) sought the dissolution three days early.

Amid widespread rumors about different contenders for the post of interim premier, on August 11, President Alvi wrote to PM Shehbaz and Opposition Leader Raja Riaz seeking their nominees for the position.

The letter stated that under Article 224(1)A of the Constitution, the president appoints the caretaker prime minister with the advice of the prime minister and the opposition leader.

According to the Constitution, the prime minister and the opposition leader have to propose the name of the caretaker premier within three days of the dissolution of the National Assembly, which took place on August 9, reminded Alvi.

He reiterated that he dissolved the National Assembly on August 9 on Shehbaz’s advice.

Now, the PM and opposition leader should suggest the name of a suitable caretaker premier within the time stipulated in the Constitution, he said.

Talks between Shehbaz and Riaz were ongoing since August 9.

According to a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) earlier this week, the premier invited the leader of the opposition for consultation as per provisions of the Constitution.

.When asked by reporters about the president’s letter, Shehbaz remained evasive and insisted that the Constitution is very clear on the procedure for the appointment of an interim PM.

The law stipulates that if the outgoing premier and leader of opposition cannot reach a consensus on a single nominee for the interim prime minister, they may each forward two names to a parliamentary committee.

In case the committee fails to finalise a candidate then the Election Commission of Pakistan will have two days to decide on a name from the list of candidates shared with it by the committee.

While speaking to reporters in Islamabad on Saturday, the PM again stressed that the name is likely to be announced today (August 12).

He said that he will be meeting with members of the political parties allied under the Pakistan Democratic Movement banner and will meet with Riaz again before reaching a final decision.

Commenting on his government’s tenure, Shehbaz said that the past 16 months were the hardest in comparison to his 38-years-long political career. However, working with all stakeholders he was able to achieve success on different fronts, he said.

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