Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar takes oath as caretaker prime minister

President Arif Alvi administers oath to Kakar; ex-premier Shehbaz also present during ceremony

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President Arif Alvi (right) administering oath to newly-appointed caretaker prime minister Anwaar-ul-Haq (left) in Islamabad, on August 14, 2023. — PID
President Arif Alvi (right) administering oath to newly-appointed caretaker prime minister Anwaar-ul-Haq (left) in Islamabad, on August 14, 2023. — PID

  • President Arif Alvi administers oath to Kakar.
  • Ex-premier Shehbaz present during ceremony.
  • Kakar is Pakistan's eighth caretaker premier.

Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar — a former senator and a leader of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) — Monday took oath as the eighth caretaker prime minister of Pakistan to see the country through to an election due in months.

President Arif Alvi administered the oath to Kakar at the Aiwan-e-Sadar, with the former prime minister, Shehbaz Sharif, and ex-cabinet members in attendance.

Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, and other high-ranking officials were also present on the occasion.

After the oath-taking ceremony, Caretaker PM Kakar was presented with a guard of honour at the PM Office. 

Before Kakar, outgoing prime minister Shehbaz Sharif was also presented with a guard of honour as he left the PM Office. 

"I have confidence in the caretaker prime minister's ability to conduct free and fair elections," ex-premier Shehbaz said in a farewell address to the nation late Sunday.

Politicians from both sides — the former government and opposition — had welcomed the appointment and hoped that the interim PM would ensure free and fair polls in the country.

Kakar's first task — as he takes charge of a country that has been wracked by political and economic instability for months — is to choose a cabinet to run the country as it heads into an election period that could last for months.

Parliament was officially dissolved last week, with elections due within 90 days according to the constitution.

But data from the latest census was finally published earlier this month, and the outgoing government said the election commission needed time to redraw constituency boundaries.

There has been speculation for months that a vote would be delayed as the authorities struggle to stabilise a country facing overlapping security, economic, and political crises.

The country has been in political turmoil since Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan was dismissed as premier by a no-confidence vote in April 2022, culminating in him being jailed last weekend for three years in a graft case.

He has been disqualified from standing for office for five years, but is appealing against his sentence and conviction.

Who is the new interim premier?

Kakar was born in 1971 in Muslim Bagh, an area of the Killa Saifullah district of Balochistan, and received his primary education from St. Francis School in Quetta.

The eighth caretaker prime minister belongs to the Kakar tribe of Pashtun ethnicity. The former senator later enrolled in Cadet College, Kohat.

However, after his father's demise, he returned to Quetta. Since then, he did a Master's in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Balochistan.

Kakar's career began with teaching at a school in his native town.

He joined politics on PML-Q's ticket for a National Assembly seat in 2008 but later joined the PML-N.

He then served as spokesman of then-Balochistan chief minister Sanaullah Zehri for almost 3 years — from 2013-15.

He was later elected to Senate as an independent candidate in 2018. Soon after, he announced the formation of BAP with the help of Senator Syed Saeed Ahmed Hashmi.

In the Senate, Kakar remained part of standing committees on finance and revenue, foreign affairs, and science and technology and also served as chairman of the Standing Committee for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources in the upper house.

“Though he has been involved in politics, Kakar is widely regarded as a great intellectual in the country,” senior anchorperson Hamid Mir told Geo News.

“The senator also enjoys good ties with the mainstream political parties including PML-N and PPP.”