PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Khurshid Shah will meet once again on Thursday to discuss the final name for the caretaker PM.
This will be their sixth meeting so far on the issue. The current government’s term ends in a week on May 31. After that, a caretaker setup will form an interim government, which will then hold the general elections in the next 60 days. The general elections are expected to happen July 25 onwards.
It is expected that the PM and Shah would be able to reach a mutual decision in the meeting on Thursday. In case they are unable to do so, a parliamentary committee will decide the matter.
On Wednesday, the opposition leader had said that the government is backtracking on its original agreement over the caretaker PM. He said the matter might have to be taken to the parliamentary committee. “The PM has no right to reject the names we gave,” said Shah. “The names given by the opposition cannot be rejected. The names will be sent to the parliamentary committee.”
Possible interim PMs
On Monday, Pakistan Peoples Party finalised two names for the interim PM: former PCB Chairperson Zaka Ashraf and Jalil Abbas Jilani, a former Pakistani ambassador to Washington. Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto finalised these names, after which Zardari called the two nominees on the phone. He told them that they had been chosen for their hard work and honesty. Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Khurshid Shah forwarded the names to PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
PTI rejected Ashraf’s name and said it had reservations over Jilani’s name.
Other names for the slot include former State Bank governor Shamshad Akhtar and former chief justices Nasirul Mulk and Tasadduq Jillani, former Balochistan governor Owais Ahmed Ghani, former ECP secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan and former Senate chairman Muhammad Mian Soomro.
The PM and opposition leader have remained unable to reach a mutual decision in the last five meetings.
On May 11, Shah said he will reveal the name of the caretaker PM on May 15. He told the media that day that he and PM Abbasi had agreed upon a name for the caretaker PM. “It’s a secret for now,” he said. “I will announce the name on May 15.” According to Shah, they have yet to make the name public because of the media’s tendency to create hue and cry about every other issue. “I am good at keeping secrets,” said Shah. “I will not reveal the name ahead of time.”
On May 16, the Opposition Leader in the National Assembly said that he will make the name public in another two days. “I will have the final meeting with the PM in two days,” he said that day. “Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari gave me the right to choose the caretaker PM.”
On May 18, PM Abbasi and Khurshid Shah had to cut short their meeting at Parliament House as the PM had to fly to Turkey on an official visit. “The PM and I will announce the name of the caretaker PM together,” said Shah on May 18. “Consultation is still going on.”
They next met on Tuesday upon the PM’s return.
Provincial interim chief
On the other hand, Pakistan Peoples Party has finalised three names for the interim Sindh chief minister. They are considering the former chief secretary Fazlur Rehman, former election commissioner Sonu Khan Baloch and Zahid Qurban Alvi, who was the caretaker CM in 2013. Rehman has also served as the secretary of ports and shipping.
The provincial government completes its tenure on May 28.