- Caretaker Appointment: Amid political transitions, Senator Anwarul Haq Kakar has been designated as the interim Prime Minister through a consensus between the outgoing Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, and the Leader of the Opposition, Raja Riaz.
- Constitutional Timelines: Following the dissolution of the National Assembly on August 9, the Pakistani Constitution mandates a span of eight days to finalize a caretaker Prime Minister and stipulates a subsequent 90-day period to conduct general elections.
- Economic Concerns: As Pakistan prepares for the upcoming elections, it simultaneously grapples with economic challenges, even after securing a financial agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Amid the political transitions in Pakistan, Senator Anwarul Haq Kakar has been designated as the interim Prime Minister. This decision culminated after intensive deliberations between the departing Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Raja Riaz.
According to an official communiqué from the Prime Minister’s Office, the decisive dialogue between Mr. Sharif and Mr. Riaz concluded with a consensus on Senator Kakar’s nomination. “Both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have jointly ratified the decision, which has subsequently been forwarded to the President,” the statement from the Prime Minister’s Office elucidated.
Mr. Sharif, expressing gratitude towards Mr. Riaz, acknowledged his constructive engagement throughout the dialogue phase and his commendable stewardship of the opposition over the preceding 16 months.
Backdrop to the Caretaker Leadership Transition
Addressing the media in Islamabad recently, Mr. Sharif emphasized that the Pakistani Constitution allots a span of eight days to finalize the caretaker Prime Minister following the assembly’s dissolution.
It should be noted that on August 9, President Arif Alvi formally dissolved the National Assembly based on the counsel of the sitting premier, thus indicating a roadmap towards the upcoming general elections, scheduled at the latest by November 9.
The constitutional framework stipulates a 90-day period post-dissolution of the assembly, within which elections need to be conducted, prior to the culmination of its standard five-year term.
As Pakistan readies itself for the imminent general elections, the nation finds itself navigating concurrent political and economic challenges, even in the aftermath of securing a financial arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Intra-Political Developments on the Appointment of Pakistan’s Interim Prime Minister
In the wake of increasing speculation concerning potential candidates for the role of interim prime minister, President Alvi officially sought nominations from both PM Shehbaz and Opposition Leader Raja Riaz on August 11.
President Alvi’s letter explicitly referenced Article 224(1)A of the Constitution, establishing the grounds on which a caretaker prime minister is appointed. This process requires a joint consultation between the standing prime minister and the leader of the opposition.
Bringing their attention to the constitutional timelines, Alvi emphasized that the dissolution of the National Assembly took place on August 9, and accordingly, nominations for the caretaker PM should be submitted within three days from said dissolution. The President clarified that the dissolution was based on the advice extended by Shehbaz.
A Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) communique earlier in the week highlighted PM Shehbaz’s initiative in inviting the opposition leader for discussions, adhering to the constitutional requirements.
Talks between Shehbaz and Riaz have been actively progressing since August 9, with another crucial session planned for the day. As of the last update, there hasn’t been any consensus on the proposed names.
Confronted by journalists regarding the president’s correspondence, Shehbaz adopted a reserved stance, reiterating the constitutional clarity regarding the selection procedure for a temporary PM.
Legal provisions mandate that in instances where both the departing premier and the leader of the opposition fail to unanimously settle on an interim PM, they are then required to individually propose two potential names for a parliamentary review committee’s consideration. If this committee subsequently encounters an impasse, the onus shifts to the Election Commission of Pakistan, which then possesses a 48-hour window to determine a suitable candidate from the provided list.
Addressing the press in Islamabad on August 12, Shehbaz underscored the anticipation of an announcement pertaining to the chosen interim PM by day’s end. He mentioned his agenda of consulting with coalition members under the Pakistan Democratic Movement before his impending rendezvous with Riaz.
Reflecting upon his tenure, Shehbaz described the past 16 months as exceptionally challenging, marking them as a distinct phase in his almost four-decade political journey. Nevertheless, by fostering collaborations across the board, he voiced satisfaction over various accomplishments during this period.