Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – As the incumbent government of Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) is about to complete its five-year term, a debate over the name of the caretaker prime minister is in the full swing.

A day before Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah are expected to unveil the name for the slot, different names are surfacing.

Sources claimed that both officials have finalised the name, while consideration regarding interim cabinet is underway.

Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi, former chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jilani, former Pakistan’s envoy to UN and speaker Sindh Assembly Abdullah Haroon, former governors of State Bank of Pakistan Ishratul Ibad and Dr Shamshad Akhtar are reportedly the potential candidates for the post.

Earlier, some reports suggested that Maleeha Lodhi and former chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jilani were among the strong candidates.

However, the latest development claimed that former Pakistan envoy to UN and speaker Sindh Assembly Abdullah Haroon is one of the most favourite candidates to be tapped as the caretaker premier.

Haroon represented Pakistan at the UN during 2008-12 when Pakistan Peoples Party was in the power. A businessman by profession, Haroon had parted ways with the PPP in 2017, while he has not joined any political party so far.

On the other hand, local media claimed that Opposition leader in the National Assembly, Khursheed Shah, has recommended two names to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The names of Zaka Ashraf and Jalil Abbas have been sent after the approval of PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari.

The suspense over the caretaker PM will remain in the air until the name is announced by the government. It is expected that the much-anticipated name will be revealed today.

Khursheed Shah, last week, said that the government and opposition had finalised the name and it will be announced on Tuesday (tomorrow).

The interim PM will be in office until the general elections in July and if Abbasi and Shah makes any decision today, the two leaders will meet again to finalise the matter.

However, if the prime minister and the opposition leader fail to agree on a name, both will announce three names which will be referred to a parliamentary committee to be formed by National Assembly Speaker, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.

Even if the committee fails to decide the interim PM, the nominee’s list will be referred to the Election Commission of Pakistan which will then exercise its authority to make the decision.