Shehbaz, Raja hold meeting to deliberate on caretaker PM

By
Ayaz Akbar Yousafzai
Pakistans Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (right) and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Raja Riaz (left) poses for a group photograph with parliamentarians of the National Assembly outside the parliament house building in Islamabad on August 9, 2023. — AFP
Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (right) and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Raja Riaz (left) poses for a group photograph with parliamentarians of the National Assembly outside the parliament house building in Islamabad on August 9, 2023. — AFP

  • Consultation becomes due after dissolution of 15th NA of Pakistan.
  • Process to appoint caretaker PM to be held under Article 224-A. 
  • Allies have proposed three names for the coveted post so far. 


ISLAMABAD: A formal round of consultation over the nomination for a caretaker premier between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Raja Riaz concluded on Thursday after they two held a meeting at the Prime Minister's House.

Upon his arrival at the PM's House, Riaz was asked whom he would nominate from his side, to which he said: "I bear three names in mind."

The consultation became due after the dissolution of the 15th NA of Pakistan last night, with President Arif Alvi's approval of the summary sent by PM Shehbaz.

“The president dissolved the National Assembly on the advice of the prime minister under Article 58-1 of the Constitution,” read an official statement issued by the President's Office on X, formerly known as Twitter, late Wednesday.

PM Shehbaz has formally invited Riaz for the meeting for consultation in a letter.

In his letter, the premier said that the president has dissolved the National Assembly under Article 58(1) of the constitution and that he is ready to fulfill his constitutional responsibility for the appointment of the caretaker prime minister.

A process to appoint a caretaker prime minister will be conducted under Article 224-A of the Constitution, which will usher in an interim government to oversee an election.

PM Shehbaz and Riaz will hold consultations to finalise one of the names proposed for the interim prime minister's post.

It may be noted that three names have been proposed, including two nominations — former diplomat Jalil Abbas Jilani and former chief justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jilani — sent by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori, by Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P).

However, there's no public announcement by the Pakistan Mulsim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in this regard.

Names of former finance minister Ishaq Dar, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former caretaker prime minister Mohammad Mian Soomro are also under consideration.

If the prime minister and opposition leader fail to agree on the name within three days, the matter will go to the parliamentary committee for the appointment of a caretaker PM.

Under the law, the premier and the opposition leader will send their respective preferences for the coveted post to the parliamentary committee.

The parliamentary committee will have to finalise the name of the caretaker prime minister within three days and if it too failed to reach a consensus on the name, then the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will pick the caretaker prime minister within two days from the names proposed by the opposition and the government.

By law, elections should be held within 90 days of parliament's dissolution, but the outgoing government has already warned they are likely to be delayed.

After the Council of Common Interests (CCI) approved new census results, ECP is required to carry out fresh delimitation — an exercise that will likely take three to four months.