ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday commenced formal consultation with Leader of the Opposition Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah for the appointment of the caretaker prime minister and his cabinet.
With the start of consultations concerning the caretaker setup, the process of next general elections and transition of power has been initiated as well.
Sources informed Pakistan Today that PM Abbasi met Shah at the chambers of National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and asked Shah to present three names for the appointment of the caretaker PM.
“During the meeting, both Shah and Abbasi discussed means to get along on the political issues. The PM stressed that both the PPP [Pakistan People’s Party] and PML-N [Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz] should work together for a smooth transition of power and protection of democratic system,” a source in the PML-N told Pakistan Today.
The source said that for the time being, both the sides did not discuss any names for the appointment of a caretaker premier and it was decided that the probable names would be discussed shortly.
It merits mention that PM Abbasi time and again has suggested that general elections would be held in July this year– a claim Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) confronted, with its officials saying that they had no idea how PM Abbasi came up the election dates.
Under the law, it is the sole prerogative of the ECP to decide a schedule for election. But even going by the assessment of PM Abbasi, if elections are to be held in July, the caretakers need to be at the helm of affairs by the March’s end. Hence, the prime minister’s consultation with Shah has a specific significance.
The former chief of the ECP, Kunwar Mohammad Dilshad, told Pakistan Today that under the Constitution, the national and provincial assemblies would likely to be dissolved by May 31 this year.
“Caretakers are to be decided from May 25 to 31 and the caretakers would be taking charge by June 1. Under the law, elections have to be held within 60 days of the expiry of the term of assemblies. Hence, general elections may be held on July 18 or 20th. New assembly to take oath on August 13 and new PM’s election can be held on August 14,” he elaborated.