Who will be the caretaker prime minister?

Arshad Waheed Chaudhry

ISLAMABAD: A day before Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi are expected to announce the name of caretaker premier, a few names have started doing the rounds for the post.

According to sources, a few names are under consideration for the post and Shah and PM Abbasi have agreed on who should be the caretaker prime minister. "Now, discussions are underway on the caretaker cabinet," sources told Geo News on Monday.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has finalised the names of Zaka Ashraf and Jalil Abbas Jilani for the post. Sources informed Geo News that Shah has forwarded these names to PM Abbasi. PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has telephoned Ashraf and Jilani informing them of the party’s decision.

Five other names are also under consideration for the post of care taker prime minister and speculation is rife as to who will be nominated.

The five names under consideration for the post include former Pakistan Ambassador to the United Nations Abdullah Hussain Haroon, former State Bank governor Dr Shamshad Akhtar, Pakistan's permanent representative to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi, former chief justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani and former State Bank governor Dr Ishrat Hussain, sources further said.

“From these five names, Dr Maleeha Lodhi and Dr Shamshad Akhtar are favourites for the post,” the sources added.

The sources further said, "If Akhtar is appointed caretaker prime minister then Lodhi will be made caretaker foreign minister."

The leader of the opposition in the National Assembly on Friday said he will hold a meeting with PM Abbasi on Tuesday (tomorrow) after which they will announce the name of the caretaker prime minister.

The current government is expected to conclude its five-year term on May 31, after which the caretaker government will take over to hold the general elections, which are expected to be held in the last week of July or first week of August.

The caretaker prime minister will lead the interim set-up and attend to day-to-day matters of governance.