BAP’s Anwaarul Haq Kakar named as caretaker PM

  • President approves advice; Kakar gets PM’s Security Protocol
  • PM Shehbaz, Raja Riaz reach consensus over Kakar’s name in final round of consultations

LAHORE: President Arif Alvi has appointed Senator Anwaarul Haq Kakar from Balochistan as the caretaker prime minister of Pakistan after both outgoing Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Opposition leader Raja Riaz reached a consensus on the name of Kakar in the final round of consultations held at Prime Minister Office.

Anwaarul Haq Kakar will take oath of his office on Sunday (tomorrow).

According to the notification, President Alvi gave approval to Kakar’s appointment under Section 224-1A of the Constitution. Kakar, co-founder of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), will be the 8th interim prime minister of Pakistan.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Opposition leader earlier Saturday announced that Senator Kakar was nominated as the caretaker prime minister of Pakistan.

The much-anticipated announcement came after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Opposition Leader Raja Riaz evolved a consensus over Kakar’s name for the coveted post during their third and final meeting in Islamabad.

The prime minister and the leader of opposition then jointly signed the advice for the appointment of the caretaker PM and sent it to President Alvi for approval, said a press release issued by the PM Office, adding the consultation process for the appointment of the caretaker prime minister was amicably completed.

On the occasion, the prime minister thanked the leader of opposition for the role in the parliament during the last 16 months and the cooperation extended in the consultation process.

Earlier, in a media talk outside the Prime Minister’s House after meeting PM Shehbaz, Riaz also confirmed that Kakar had been picked to head the interim set-up.

“We had earlier decided that the caretaker PM should be someone from a smaller province and a non-controversial personality. Our aim was to remove the sense of deprivation in small provinces.

Talking to the media men outside the PM House after meeting PM Shehbaz Sharif, Raja Riaz confirmed the decision, saying “We had earlier decided that the caretaker prime minister should be someone from a smaller province and a non-controversial personality. The aim was also to remove the sense of deprivation of small provinces. We reached a consensus that Anwaarul Haq Kakar will be the caretaker PM.”

He further said “I had given this name and the PM Shehbaz Sharif has consented to this name … I and the PM have signed on the summary.”

Raja Riaz also told journalists that Kakar will take oath as the head of the interim set-up tomorrow (Sunday). “A discussion on the caretaker cabinet was not held in my meeting with PM Shehbaz today,” he added.

Raja Riaz, however, refused to share with the media the names of remaining five candidates for the PM’s post.

Riaz said he, by proposing the interim PM’s name, had performed his duty as opposition leader in the Lower House of the parliament.

When asked about the caretaker cabinet, he said no discussion was held today on it as the prerogative rests with the caretaker prime minister to finalize the names of the caretaker cabinet.

It has been three days since the National Assembly was dissolved, but it has yet to be decided that who will be the caretaker prime minister. President Dr Arif Alvi had also asked both PM Shehbaz and Opposition leader Raja Riaz to give a consensus name for caretaker prime minister today (Saturday).

 

Kakar gets PM Security Protocol

Anwaarul Haq Kakar, the interim Prime Minister-elect, has been provided the PM’s Security Protocol Saturday following his appointment.

The PM security squad also reached the residence of Anwaarul Haq Kakar. The PM’s Security Protocol is a set of security measures designed to ensure safety and protection of the Prime Minister. It includes a security detail, armoured vehicles, and other protective measures.

The provision of the PM’s Security Protocol to Kakar is a sign of the government’s commitment to ensuring his safety and security while he serves as the interim Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Kakar was appointed as the interim PM by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and outgoing Opposition Leader in the National Assembly (NA) Raja Riaz. The appointment of Kakar as the interim PM has been met with widespread support from both the government and opposition parties.

 

Kakar’s brief profile

Anwaarul Haq Kakar holds a masters degree in political science and sociology from the University of Balochistan.

Belongs to the Kan Mitarzai area of Killa Saifullah, Balochistan, Kakar’s nomination comes with less than a year left in the completion of his six-year term in Senate which is scheduled to end in March 2024.

He started his political career with the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) ticket and contested elections from Quetta in 2008 but lost.

In 2015, during the tenure of Nawab Sanaullah Zehri as chief minister, he was appointed as the spokesperson for the Balochistan government after a coalition of the PML-N and nationalist parties formed government in the province in 2013.

In 2017, he was among a group of dissident PML-N members who formed the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and became the central spokesperson for the party.

With the support of PML-N MPAs, he was elected as senator for six years in 2018 to March 2024 on general seat.

He was also working as chairperson Senate Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, and as member of the Business Advisory Committee, Finance and Revenue, Foreign Affairs and Science and Technology.

Kakar had co-launched a political party Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and also served as spokesman for the government of Balochistan.

He is considered among the pro-establishment politicians in the social and political circles of Balochistan. He had been a part of the negotiation process with the Baloch rebels, and also founded NGO named “Voice of Balochistan,” which propagates against the dominant nationalist narrative in Balochistan.

Daily Azadi Quetta Editor Asif Baloch maintained that Kakar’s appointment would be beneficial for the pro-establishment narrative in the country, especially in Balochistan, as he always remained in the good books of the powers that be.

“He has always been at the forefront against the nationalist movement in Balochistan,” he added.

Baloch mentioned that BAP was the brainchild of Kakar with their motto being “Balochistan kay faislay Balochistan main (decisions about Balochistan to be made in Balochistan),” but noted that “in reality, all decisions continued to be made in Islamabad”.

 

Four Balochistan dignities hold key federal posts

After the appointment of Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar, the number of dignities belonging to Balochistan and serving the federal government against the key posts has reached four.

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwar Haq Kakar belongs to Balochistan while Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani is also from Balochistan province. Justice Qazi Faiz Isa, who will be assumed the charge as Chief Justice of Pakistan from September 16, is also from Balochistan.

Noorul Amin Mengal Capital Development Authority Chairman and Chief Commissioner Islamabad also belongs to Balochistan province.

Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan, making up approximately 43 percent of the total area of the country. It is also the poorest and least populated. It is rich in mineral resources and the major supplier of natural gas after Sindh. One of the world‟s biggest copper deposits have been found at Reko Diq in the Chaghi district of Balochistan. But the people of Balochistan have a deep sense of deprivation that the center does not pay full attention to them.

The successive governments of Islamabad have been trying to accommodate the leaders of Balochistan against various key federal posts.

 

Reactions

Reacting to the development, PPP Senator Saleem Mandviwalla congratulated Kakar on assuming the role of caretaker prime minister.

“We hope Anwaarul Haq Kakar will discharge his duties in accordance with the Constitution and legal provisions,” he shared with Dawn.com.

Mandviwala observed that Kakar was entering the position of caretaker prime minister during a demanding period.

He believed that ensuring equitable and transparent elections would pose a substantial challenge for the new interim PM. “We expect the premier will fulfill his responsibilities with utmost diligence,” he appended.

The senator also conveyed his best wishes to the caretaker premier.

Former information minister and ex-PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said Kakar was an “honest, educated and modest” Pakistani.

“After a long time, some good news has come for Pakistan. May God be your supporter and bless this decision for Pakistan,” he said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

PPP leader Faisal Karim Kundi welcomed the development and congratulated Kakar. “PPP left it to PM Shehbaz to nominate [caretaker] PM with the consultation of opposition leader.

“Hope under his leadership Election Commission will conduct free and fair elections,” he added.

Contrary to his colleague Kundi, PPP’s Khursheed Shah opposed Kakar’s selection and said, “We were not aware that Anwaarul Haq’s name will be finalised, and it would have been better if another person was selected for the post.”

However, he added, “Anwaarul Haq Kakar would be remembered if he succeeds in ensuring transparent elections.

Shah told Dawn.com over the phone that the PPP had proposed five names for the interim PM, which did not include Kakar. He shared four names he said were recommended by the PPP — Salim Abbas Jilani, Jalil Abbas Jilani, Muhammad Malik and Afzal Khan.

“Whoever proposed his (Kakar) name, we should hope for good,” the PPP leader said.

Shah’s statement gave the impression that the PPP had reservations over Kakar’s appointment, which party leader Shazia Marri dispelled.

She said the PPP had entrusted Shehbaz Sharif with the authority to recommend the name for the interim premier, adding that her party’s sole focus now was the upcoming general elections, and it wanted them to be held in line with the law and the Constitution.

PTI Senator Ali Zafar said Kakar is an “intelligent, articulate [and] reasonable man”.

“[He] believes in politics of cooperation not confrontation: has always well represented the interests of Balauchistan [sic]. Wish him the best,” he tweeted.

Separately, Bloomberg quoted political commentator Hasan Askari Rizvi as saying that Kakar’s true test would be whether he follows the IMF’s approach and conducts inclusive elections involving all political parties.

He separately told AFP that Kakar “has a limited political career and not much weight in Pakistani politics”, but that could work in his favour.

“This can be an advantage because he has no strong affiliation with the major political parties,” he said.

“But the disadvantage is that being a lightweight politician he may find it difficult to cope with the problems he’s going to face without the active support of the military establishment.”

CM Naqvi extends congratulations to Anwarul Haq Kakar

Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi has extended his congratulations to Anwarul Haq Kakar as the caretaker prime minister besides conveying his best wishes.

Mohsin Naqvi emphasized that Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar, as the Caretaker Prime Minister, embodies a patriotic Pakistani spirit, displaying positivity and a non-controversial disposition. The decision to appoint Anwarul Haq Kakar, hailing from Balochistan, as the caretaker prime minister, had been warmly received, he added.

 

Saleem Jadoon
Saleem Jadoon
News Editor at Pakistan Today

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