Monday, July 24, 2023
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PPP 'willing' to consider Ishaq Dar as caretaker prime minister

"We have not finalised anyone's name yet," PPP spokesperson Kundi says

Web Desk
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (right) and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar address a press conference in Lahore on June 30, 2023. — AFP
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (right) and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar address a press conference in Lahore on June 30, 2023. — AFP

  • PPP says did not receive Ishaq Dar's name as of yet.
  • "We have not finalised anyone's name yet," Kundi says.
  • Announcement to be made once the name is finalised.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) — one of the two major coalition partners in the Centre — has not ruled out the possibility of accepting Ishaq Dar, the incumbent finance minister and a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader, as the caretaker prime minister.

Both major coalition partners have agreed that a politician should be appointed as the head of the interim set-up, with PPP's Qamar Zaman Kaira saying that no politician can be appointed as a judge and vice versa.

PML-N, according to sources, has finalised the name of Finance Minister Senator Dar as the caretaker prime minister. They told Geo News that the government committee formed on the matter is taking all other political parties in confidence on the matter.

In conversation with Geo News, PPP spokesperson Faisal Karim Kundi said PML-N is yet to apprise his party that Dar's name is under consideration.

"In the future, if Ishaq Dar's name is proposed, we can discuss it. The party's senior leadership will decide over the name of the caretaker prime minister," Kundi said.

The PPP leader said just like PML-N, every party was holding consultations within, and his party's consultations were not over yet. "We have not finalised anyone's name yet."

Kundi said a formal announcement would be made once the name is finalised.

Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal stated during Geo News show "Naya Pakistan", that if there is agreement on Dar's name across the board, then he could be appointed the caretaker PM.

"Whatever decision is taken, the cabinet will be taken into confidence," Iqbal said.

On the other hand, when asked during an interview about his possible appointment, Dar did not deny it. "I have always fulfilled my duties whenever I am appointed to any position."

Meanwhile, the government is also about to amend Section 230 of the Election Act 2017 — which relates to the functions of a caretaker government — before its term comes to an end.

Well-placed parliamentary sources told The News the two houses of the Parliament would separately adopt the Electoral Reforms Bill introducing major changes to the Election Act-2017 this week.

The proposed reforms would enhance the powers of the caretaker government to transact important matters of national significance, much beyond day-to-day affairs.

Top PPP and PML-N leaders are also in Dubai once again to discuss elections and the caretaker set-up. Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman is also set to join them.

What's the process of caretaker PM's appointment?

The process of officially appointing a caretaker prime minister will be triggered after the government dissolves the National Assembly — and sources say they plan on doing it on August 8.

Article 224 of the Constitution explains the process of appointment of a caretaker government at the Centre and provinces.

Until the formation of a caretaker government, PM Shehbaz will continue his duties as the prime minister, albeit for a few days.

It is only incumbent National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, out of all elected representatives, who will hold his position until the newly-elected lawmakers take an oath and elect his replacement.

For the formation of a caretaker government, PM Shehbaz will write to the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Raja Riaz, within 48 hours of the dissolution of the assembly, seeking three names for the caretaker prime minister and will suggest three names himself.

In case, an impasse between the two leaders lasts for three days on the nominee, the NA speaker will form a committee comprising six members of the outgoing assembly with equal representation from the treasury and the opposition.

To the committee, the prime minister and the leader of the opposition will forward two nominees each.

The committee then will have three days to evolve consensus on one name. If that fails as well, then the names of the nominees will be referred to the Election Commission of Pakistan for a final decision within two days.

The selected nominee will perform the duties as the interim PM until the formation of a new government in the Centre. The caretaker PM also has the power to induct cabinet members.