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Shah not hopeful about consensus on caretaker PM

ISLAMABAD: With Premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah soon to meet again to discuss and evolve consensus on a name for the caretaker prime minister, the latter doesn’t seem optimistic about the outcome of another meeting. 

Casting doubt over nomination of a consensus candidate for the office of the caretaker prime minister by him and the premier, the opposition leader said the matter of a caretaker set-up will go to a parliamentary committee to choose any of the proposed names for the interim premier.

He said the government has no right to outright dismiss the names proposed by the opposition, adding that it is backtracking on its previous stance.

A meeting between PM Abbasi and Shah ended without any outcome a day earlier as the former sought more time to consult his party about nominees for the caretaker premier.

Speaking to media, Shah said another meeting with Prime Minister Abbasi will be held in a day or two to decide the matter. “We are trying to reach a decision within the Parliament,” Shah said.

“In case of disagreement a parliamentary committee, comprises of four members from each side, will decide the matter”.

The five-year term of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government will expire within eight days on May 31st.

Mr. Shah’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) proposed the names of former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf and former Pakistan envoy in Washington Jalil Abbas Jilani, for the office of the caretaker prime minister in the meeting between the opposition leader and Prime Minister Abbasi on Tuesday.

Khursheed Shah, before the crucial meeting with the prime minister, on Monday held consultations with party chairman Bilawal-Bhutto Zardari and the senior leadership of the PPP, party sources said.

According to sources, the government has suggested names of former chief justices of Pakistan Justice (retd) Nasir-ul-Mulk, Justice (retd) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani and former State Bank governor Dr Shamshad Akhtar.

The names of another former governor of State Bank, Dr. Ishrat Hussain and former Pakistan Ambassador to the United Nations Abdullah Hussain Haroon are also being given for the caretaker prime minister’s office.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has rejected the name of Zaka Ashraf because of his affiliation with People’s Party. According to PPP sources, Ashraf had recently resigned from the CEC of the party.

The incumbent government is expected to wind up its five-year term on May 31, after which the caretaker set up will take over the government to hold the general elections, which are expected to be held in the last week of July.

The election commission has recently forwarded a summary about the date of the general election to the Presidency for the presidential approval, suggesting to hold the polls on July 25, 26 or 27.

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