Tumultuous Day for Pakistan’s Politics with Caretaker PM to Be Picked | Exclusive Details – Apna TPO

It’s a tumultuous day for Pakistan’s politics with a flurry of key meetings and deliberations to pick its caretaker prime minister. Retired diplomat Jalil Abbas Jilani is said to be the top contender and he is set to meet PM Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday. The prime minister will also meet leader of opposition Raja Riaz Ahmad to deliberate on the caretaker PM probables. Meetings of the federal cabinet, national assembly, senate, and a joint session of parliament have also been called. The country’s top political leadership is meeting on Wednesday to finalise the caretaker setup and schedule for elections.

Army chief General Asim Munir Ahmed will also meet PM Shehbaz Sharif and president of Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians Asif Ali Zardari to discuss the prevailing situation in the country.

Apart from Jilani, economist and politician Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, retired civil servant Tariq Bajwa, and federal minister for privatisation Muhammad Mian Soomro are believed to be among the top contenders for the caretaker post.

PM Shehbaz Sharif is set to formally recommend the dissolution of the national assembly to President Arif Alvi to pave the way for the next general elections in the country without former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has been jailed and barred from politics for five years.

The dissolution allows the interim government, which is still to be set up, to oversee the next general elections within 90 days, that is by November.

The five-year term of the incumbent national assembly — the lower house of the Pakistan parliament — commenced on August 12, 2018, and thus it could have technically remained active till August 12, 2023. However, the prime minister’s and PDM parties’ decision means it is now set for a premature dissolution, albeit by a mere three days.

A joint session of the parliament is expected on Wednesday after the conclusion of which the premier is expected to write to the president to initiate the dissolution process. Thus, PM Shehbaz has until the night of August 9 to write to President Alvi, advising him to dissolve the assembly.

Even if President Alvi fails to sign the dissolution advice, the assembly will stand dissolved on the night of August 11, hours before it would have completed its tenure the next day.

Once the assembly is dissolved by the president or stands dissolved upon the advice, the national assembly secretariat will issue a notification about the dissolution.

With the national assembly dissolved, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will come into action. The ECP is an autonomous constitutional body in charge of organising and conducting elections. According to Article 224 of the Pakistan constitution, the ECP must conduct general elections within 60 days after the assembly has completed its five-year term, or within 90 days in the case of an early dissolution.

In between the dissolution of the assembly and fresh elections, an interim or caretaker government is appointed. The caretaker cabinet has one primary job: to create a conducive environment for free and fair elections in the country.

This caretaker cabinet is appointed by the president, but this choice is made in collaboration with the outgoing prime minister and the leader of the opposition in the outgoing national assembly. If a consensus is not reached then the issue of caretaker prime minister is referred to a committee. If the matter is not resolved even then, the ECP will appoint the caretaker PM.

Top contenders for post of caretaker PM

1. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh: Former finance minister of Pakistan. Served in General Pervez Musharraf, former President Asif Ali Zardari, and Imran Khan’s cabinets as finance minister.

2. Tariq Bajwa: Former finance secretary and very close to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

3. Jalil Abbas Jillani: Former foreign secretary and relative of former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani. He was named caretaker PM in 2018 by PMLN.

4. Tasadduq Hussain Jilani: Retired Justice.

5. Maqbool Baqar: Retired Justice.

6. Fawad Hassan Fawad: Retired bureaucrat and former PS to PM Nawaz Sharif.

7. Hussain Haroon: Former diplomat.

8. Muhammad Mian Soomro: Federal minister for privatisation and former acting president of Pakistan.

Top meetings happening today

1. Pakistan army chief and PM Shehbaz Sharif

2. Former President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif

3. PMLN supremo will hold virtual meetings with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Asif Zardari, and Maulana Fazl Rehman.

4. PDM leaders’ meeting.

5. Asif Zardari and army chief.

6. Opposition leader and PM.

7. Federal cabinet.

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