—Matter now transferred to eight-member parliamentary committee to be formed by NA
—Article 224-A allows extension in term of incumbent PM if ECP fails to name caretaker PM
ISLAMABAD: The failure of Prime Minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah to evolve consensus on the new caretaker prime minister has led the matter to be transferred to an eight-member parliamentary committee, which will be formed by the National Assembly (NA) speaker to nominate a caretaker PM within three days.
Article 224-A of the Constitution, which deals with the resolution by a committee or Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), states: “In case the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing National Assembly do not agree on any person to be appointed as the caretaker Prime Minister, within three days of the dissolution of the National Assembly, they shall forward two nominees each to a Committee to be immediately constituted by the Speaker of the National Assembly, comprising eight members of the outgoing National Assembly, or the Senate, or both, having equal representation from the Treasury and the Opposition, to be nominated by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition respectively.”
“The Committee constituted under clause (1) or (2) shall finalise the name of the caretaker Prime Minister or caretaker Chief Minister, as the case may be, within three days of the referral of the matter to it,” it further reads.
However, if the committee also failed to evolve a consensus, the matter would automatically be referred to ECP to decide the matter within two days.
It is interesting to note that some important leaders of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have claimed that party supremo Nawaz Sharif had already directed Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to endorse the nominee of the leader of the opposition to avoid passing the matter over to ECP.
But PM Abbasi had been dragging his feet over the matter which led to the matter being transferred to the eight-member parliamentary committee.
Nawaz Sharif on Friday also questioned the delay in finalising a candidate for the caretaker setup and said the matter would be taken up by the parliament if the incumbent government and the opposition failed to reach a consensus in this connection.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Sherry Rehman also argued that PML-N was creating hurdles for the finalisation of the caretaker setup. The opposition leader in the Senate said that the ruling party was now pitching in new names which were not previously discussed.
“We are not sure as from where PML-N got the names that they are submitting at this stage,” she said, while adding that the ruling party was backing down from their previous commitments.
There is one theory that suggests that PM Abbasi’s was intentionally delaying the matter so he could continue calling the shots, even after the termination of the term of the current assemblies.
Per Article 224-A of the Constitution, the incumbent prime minister’s term could be extended if ECP failed to name a caretaker PM.
“More importantly, the incumbent Prime Minister and the incumbent Chief Minister shall continue to hold office till the appointment of the caretaker Prime Minister and the caretaker Chief Minister, as the case may be,” the article reads.