Caretaker PM: PML-N, PPP make divergent claims over consensus on Hafeez Shaikh’s name

— Rana Sana claims consensus achieved on Hafeez Shaikh for caretaker PM

— PPP denies Sana’s claim; says Sana has no power to make such a claim

ISLAMABAD: Ruling coalition partners, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) have made divergent claims over reports of consensus on the name of former finance minister Dr Hafeez Shaikh to be appointed as caretaker prime minister.

PPP Secretary General Nayyar Hussain Bokhari on Monday denied consensus on former finance minister Hafeez Shaikh’s name for the caretaker prime ministership, says in media reports.

“Rana Sanaullah should have not talked about Hafeez Sheikh’s name,” the PPP leader said reacting to the statement of the minister.

Earlier, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah claimed that former finance minister Hafeez Shaikh was among the candidates shortlisted for the slot of the caretaker prime minister.

Shaikh’s name was among those earlier reported to have been included in a list of five finalised by parties in the ruling coalition for the caretaker prime minister. The purported list was also said to have included former chief justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani.

Bokhari observed it’s not the prerogative of Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah to comment on the names of the caretaker prime minister candidates.

Commenting on the recently okayed digital census results, the PPP stalwart said a constitutional amendment is needed to increase the number of seats according to the new census.

It may be noted that Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif has hinted at the possibility of dissolving the National Assembly (NA) on August 9.

Earlier, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah says the names of ex-finance minister Hafeez Shaikh and a former Supreme Court judge have been shortlisted among others for the caretaker Prime Minister (PM).

He said name of the caretaker premier would turn up by Tuesday, adding Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi are not in the run.

Hafeez Shaikh had served as the finance minister the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) led federal government. However, he was removed from this slot in March 2021.

The PTI pitched Sheikh against the former PM and senior leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party Yousaf Raza Gillani for Senate seat, however, Sheikh lost the contest.

During an interview with a local news channel, Rana Sana said a ‘neutral’ person would be the caretaker prime minister having no political association.

Talking about name of Dar for an interim premier, the interior minister said when his (Dar) name was taking round in the media, that time it was decided that an apolitical person would be selected for the caretaker PM slot.

He said the names of Dar, Abbasi and Raza Rabbani could be considered if any decision was made to allow any political person to be picked for the PM slot.

When asked whether Shaikh was ready to become the caretaker PM, the minister said: “Definitely, he must be.”

Name of former chief justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jilani is circulating in the media among those persons those are being considered as caretaker PM.

Rana Sana hinted that elections could be delayed by 120 days as constituencies would now have to be redrawn under the new census and it was demand of all political parties and provinces that coming general elections should be held according to the new census.

There will be no harm if the elections date is extended for a month or two. There is no problem if polls are held in February-March next year, the minister said.

Ruling allies repose trust in PM Shehbaz for selecting caretaker PM

During a meeting on August 4, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and other coalition partners put their faith in Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in nomination of the caretaker prime minister.

The government has paced up consultation to finalise the caretaker setup as it has decided to prematurely dissolve the National Assembly on Aug 9.

A day earlier, PM Shehbaz told the allies at a dinner hosted by him in the federal capital that the assembly would be dissolved on Aug 9. He added that the decision about the caretaker prime minister would be taken in consultation with Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and before that he would consult all allied parties.

Sources said the premier chaired a meeting of the allied parties, wherein they reposed trust in him for finalisation of a name for the caretaker PM slot.

They said the prime minister could nominate any suitable person for the slot. The ruling coalition also asked him to hold consultation on the names recommended by the opposition leader for the position.

Meanwhile, the names of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, independent lawmaker from Balochistan Aslam Bhootani and Hafeez Shaikh are making the rounds as candidates for the caretaker prime minister.

Mian Abrar
Mian Abrar
The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He tweets as @mian_abrar and also can be reached at [email protected]


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