Monday, May 28, 2018

Former CJP Nasirul Mulk named caretaker PM

Premier, opposition leader are expected to address a press conference over the matter shortly

ISLAMABAD: Former Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice (retd) Nasirul Mulk was named caretaker prime minister on Monday.

Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah announced that Justice (retd) Mulk will take reigns as caretaker premier while addressing a press conference along with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and National Assembly speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.

Moments earlier, Geo News had reported that the premier and opposition leader had reached a breakthrough in the meeting held Monday to finalise the caretaker premier. 

"We have selected a candidate for caretaker premier who will prove to play a democratic role in the upcoming general election," the premier said while addressing the press conference.

"Every name was discussed, and this name was decided upon. It’s a name no one can point fingers at," PM Abbasi added.

The premier added, "Today is a historic day for Pakistan and democracy."

As PM Abbasi asked the leader of the opposition to announce the name of the caretaker premier, Shah said, "We are happy that the government was able to complete its five-year term."

Thanking the NA speaker for his "major role" in the government and opposition reaching an agreement, Shah added, "It was a challenge for all of us and all names that were put forth were credible and respectable individuals." 

"We tried to make a decision which will be acceptable to the nation and Parliament," Shah further said.

The veteran Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader, "We have made a democratic decision. I am thankful to the prime minister, to the speaker, for making this decision with patience, setting aside our emotions."

 "No one's name was discarded," he continued.

"We have chosen this name on the basis of merit. We took our parties into confidence and decided upon this name," the leader of the opposition in NA added.

Shah said, "The name of the person I would like to present is a very respectable one." 

"The name is Nasirul Mulk, who has served as chief justice. He played a historic role in the judiciary and when he was a lawyer," the PPP leader announced.

"I am hopeful he will successfully conduct free, fair and impartial elections in Pakistan on July 25, 2018," Shah concluded.

This was the sixth meeting between the two, with the previous five ending in a deadlock. 

Ahead of the meeting, Shah had told reporters that both the parties would try their best to decide on a name for the caretaker prime minister. 

If a no consensus had not been reached, then the only option would have been to send the matter to a parliamentary committee. 

It was earlier reported that the government and opposition made contact on Sunday and decided to overcome the impasse over the issue. 

PM Abbasi also asked Shah to fly to Islamabad for a final meeting over the matter.

Expressing his confidence in the meeting, the premier had remarked that he hoped a consensus would be reached in today’s meeting. “If there is no consensus, then the issue will be sent to a parliamentary committee.”

PTI welcomes decision

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman took to Twitter to congratulate the former chief justice moments after the decision was announced.

"Want to congratulate Justice (r) Nasir ul Mulk on being appointed caretaker PM," Imran tweeted.

Further, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said his party welcomes the decision of naming Justice (retd) Mulk as caretaker premier.

"Justice (retd) Mulk has an advantage as he was the head of a judicial commission probing into rigging in 2013 general elections," Chaudhry said while speaking to Geo News.

"He is aware of issues pertaining to elections," he added.

"We hope that he implements the recommendations he gave as acting chief election commissioner to ensure the upcoming general election is transparent," the PTI leader further said.

PPP also hails decision

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari took to Twitter to hail the decision of appointing Justice (r) Mulk as caretaker premier.

"Moving forward for the sake of strengthening democracy -- congratulations to Justice (r) Nasirul Mulk on being appointed caretaker prime minister," he tweeted.

Hope Justice (r) Mulk will conduct transparent elections: JI

Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) leader Sahibzada Tariq Ullah said the party accepted the name of Justice (retd) Mulk as caretaker PM. 

“He [Nasirul Mulk] has served as the chief justice of the Supreme Court. We hope that he will conduct free, fair and transparent elections,” the JI leader said.

Victory for democracy: ANP

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Awami National Party (ANP) leader Zahid Khan said all political parties would agree on the name of Justice (retd) Mulk. 

The ANP leader termed this as a victory for democracy and hoped that there would be a smooth transition of power after the next elections.

'All fears of delay in elections removed'

Welcoming the decision, Hamid Mir said it was another success of democracy in Pakistan.

"Congratulations to PM Abbasi and opposition leader Syed Khurshid Shah for making consensus on former CJP Justice (r) Nasir ul Mulk as caretaker PM now all fears of delay in elections removed," Mir tweeted.

Speaking to Geo News, Mir shared that PM Abbasi had suggested Justice (retd) Mulk's name for the post and PPP earlier had reservations. "However, after the deadlock, Shah agreed on the former chief justice's name."