- Former chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani likely to secure top caretaker slot
- Opp leader Khursheed Shah refuses to reveal name until Tuesday, says gender would not play a role in determining candidacy
ISLAMABAD: The government and the opposition on Saturday reportedly reached consensus on the candidacy of the caretaker prime minister, according to media reports.
Sources said that a consensus has likely been reached over the appointment of former chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani as the caretaker prime minister.
They said that the ruling party is against appointing a person who worked with former military dictator Pervez Musharraf. Therefore, they added that the name of Maleeha Lodhi, who is currently serving as Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, stands rejected since she has worked with most of the regimes including that of Musharraf.
The candidacy of former State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) governor Ishrat Hussain has also been rejected on the same grounds since he was appointed as the SBP chief by Pervez Musharraf, they added.
It was also being reported that name of Abdullah Hussain Haroon emerged as a probable contender for the caretaker top-slot as he served as the Permanent Representative of Pakistan at the UN during the tenure of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and is reportedly close to former president Asif Zardari.
However, sources said that Haroon is also unlikely to gain the top spot as he has developed differences with Zardari over certain issues recently.
Earlier, discussions were underway to reach decisions on candidates for the caretaker federal cabinet. Suggestions for the caretaker chief minister in Punjab were also solicited from the PPP. In addition, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah discussed the roles of Sindh and Balochistan’s caretaker chief ministers.
Khursheed Shah declined to reveal any information about the caretaker prime minister but said that gender would not play a role in determining candidacy. “We are making efforts to reach a consensus on an uncontroversial candidate,” he said
“The candidate’s name will be announced after I meet the prime minister on Tuesday,” he added.
Earlier this week, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto and Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari fully empowered Khursheed Shah in connection to the appointment of the caretaker prime minister.
The formal process for choosing caretaker PM started in April following a meeting between the PM and Khursheed Shah in which the names of potential candidates were discussed.
Names of former finance minister Dr Hafeez Pasha, former chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani and former governors of State Bank Dr Shamshad Akhtar and Ishrat Hussain were taken under consideration. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had also finalised three names for the caretaker prime minister – Abdur Razzaq Daud, Tasadduq Jilani and Dr Ishrat Hussain.
According to reports, the formula agreed upon to appoint the caretaker setup is that the PPP will propose the names of contenders and the PML-N will endorse them. A similar arrangement was in place during the last elections in which the PML-N proposed the names of the caretaker setup while the PPP had to give a nod of approval.
Though a consensus might’ve been reached over the caretaker PM between the two top parties, differences still persist over the caretaker cabinet, according to reports.
The caretaker prime minister is constitutionally appointed following the consensus between the leader of the house in National Assembly (prime minister) and leader of the opposition in National Assembly.
In case no consensus is reached, a parliamentary committee is going to be constituted by the NA speaker with the primary responsibility of choosing a candidate within 48 hours, no later than June 2. In case the committee also fails to come up with a name for caretaker PM, the Election Commission of Pakistan would be given another 48 hours to appoint the caretaker PM, no later than June 4.