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Govt-Opposition deadlock persists over caretaker setup

ISLAMABAD: The final week of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government has started but the government and the opposition have failed to reach consensus over a caretaker setup that will guide the country through the General Election likely to be held in the end of July.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah have failed to decide the name of the caretaker prime minister in their last six meetings over the issue.

The governments in provinces have also failed to make any progress for formation of the interim setups in their respective provinces, as they have entered in the last week of their mandated tenure.

Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah once again on Friday said he would not meet Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi again for consultations on the name of the caretaker prime minister.

He said he would send the names of the opposition’s two nominees for the slot to the National Assembly Speaker for placing them before a parliamentary committee that will now try to develop consensus over a name for the caretaker premier.  

He said the prime minister had backtracked from his position time to time in their consultative meetings.

The current government is expected to conclude its five-year term on May 31, after which the caretaker government will take over to hold the general elections. The caretaker prime minister will lead the interim set-up and attend the day-to-day governance matters.

In previous meetings the government has suggested names of former chief justices of Pakistan Justice (retd) Nasir-ul-Mulk and Justice (retd) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani. The opposition leader has floated the names of Zaka Ashraf and Jalil Abbas Jilani for the position.

If the stalemate between the government and opposition persists, the matter of nomination of the caretaker prime minister will be forwarded to a parliamentary panel comprised of equal number of members from the government and the opposition. If the deadlock still continues the matter will finally resolved by the Election Commission of Pakistan by nominating a a caretaker prime minister.

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