–Khursheed Shah says he will not hold any further meetings with PM Abbasi over caretaker premier
–Speaker Ayaz Sadiq points out no request made by Abbasi, Shah to form committee for caretaker PM
ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary committee will now decide the name of the caretaker prime minister as Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Leader of the Opposition Khursheed Shah failed to reach a consensus over the matter on Friday.
Shah told reporters at his chamber in Parliament House that there would be no more meetings between him and Prime Minister Abbasi over naming the caretaker PM.
The announcement came just a day after a meeting between Abbasi and Shah was cancelled to deliberate over the matter.
According to Shah, the ruling party had backed off from its earlier stance on the names for caretaker prime minister.
“Initially, the PPP was willing to nominate retired judges for the caretaker premier but the PML-N insisted that retired judges should not be nominated for the post, so we changed our mind and nominated Zaka Ashraf and Jalil Abbas Jilani,” he said, adding that the ruling party later changed its stance and insisted on the names of retired judges.
Shah said that he will send the two proposed names to the National Assembly speaker for consideration by the parliamentary committee. The opposition leader said he will also write a letter to the prime minister, informing him about the PPP’s reservations.
SPEAKER SAYS NO REQUEST MADE
National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said that a parliamentary committee is yet to be formed to decide on a candidate as the caretaker prime minister.
During an informal conversation with journalists in the federal capital, the NA speaker said he had not received any request from Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi or NA Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah for the formation of the committee.
“The Parliamentary Committee to mull over the caretaker prime minister candidature will only be formed after the premier and the opposition leader lodge a request,” observed Sadiq.
He noted that the committee — which will include four members each of the government and the opposition — can be formed up to three days after the tenure of assemblies ends.
The term of the current government expires on May 31, after which the caretaker setup will be put in place to hold elections which are expected to be held in July.
So far, five meetings have been held between PM Abbasi and Shah but all of them ended in a deadlock, with the matter now expected to be taken to a parliamentary committee.
“It is Khursheed Shah’s opinion to wait till Monday and if a name [for the caretaker PM] is not decided upon then the names should be sent to the committee. If the committee cannot decide the matter, it will be sent to the Election Commission,” Prime Minister Abbasi had said in a press conference.
In an earlier meeting, the premier and Shah had agreed that they would not disclose the names of their respective nominees for the office of caretaker prime minister till last moment in order to avoid “controversies” over the names.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has already warned that if the government and the opposition failed to reach an agreement on the name of a caretaker prime minister, a bipartisan committee of lawmakers will be created to resolve the matter. If that committee is also unsuccessful, the matter will be referred to the ECP, which will then pick a name of its own choosing.