PPP, PML-N in covert talks over caretaker PM


The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have once again opened backchannel discussions on a proposal raised by the PPP to give a lead role to politicians instead of technocrats in the caretaker setup and the initial contacts have suggested that both parties would agree to appoint a politician as caretaker prime minister rather than a retired judge, Pakistan Today has learnt reliably.
In case both parties fail to evolve consensus over the caretaker PM and his team by March, the matter would automatically be referred to the chief election commissioner (CEC) who will appoint the new caretakers at will under constitutional provisions. If both parties agree on a politician to head the caretaker setup, the PML-N would withdraw its previous demand to name either Justice (r) Nasir Aslam Zahid or Justice (r) Shakirullah Jan as caretaker prime minister. Resultantly, the chances of Mian Raza Rabbani’s appointment as caretaker
PM are brighter than ever, a man equally respected within the PPP and PML-N for his impartiality and character. Asked to comment on the information gathered by Pakistan Today, PML-N Secretary Information Mushahidullah Khan said informal contacts were taking place between both political parties on a regular basis, but no formal contact had been made to date to discuss the proposal.
“Contacts do take place and suggestions are made between political parties. But there is a formal route under the 20th constitutional amendment and a formal proposal has to be tabled to Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Nisar Ali Khan,” he added.
A well-placed source in the ruling party said in wake of media discussions suggesting chances of delaying the general election, another round of informal dialogue between the leadership of the PPP and PML-N had started and exchange of indirect messages had taken place between President Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif.
“Rumours are rife in the federal capital that a petition is being prepared seeking delay of polls and seeking accountability of politicians before polls, as elections without accountability would make no change in the present setup and the allegedly corrupt politicians may return to power. The Presidency is reviewing the situation closely and thus decided to contact the PML-N,” the source said.
The PPP had contacted Senator Ishaq Dar for communicating to Nawaz their concerns over the rumours, suggesting that both parties should evolve consensus over major issues before it got too late, the source added.
“We have conveyed to Nawaz Sharif that under the law, if both parties fail to evolve consensus over the caretaker setup, the matter would automatically go to the chief election commissioner, Justice (r) Fakharuddin G Ebrahim, who is toeing the line of superior courts. In such a case, nothing could be predicted about polls and accountability,” the source said, adding that it had been communicated that the media was already discussing a possible delay in elections and proposals of accountability before election may soon surface. The source added that the president was reluctant to rely on loyalties of any technocrat, fearing that technocrats, especially retired judges, could not be trusted as they lacked political vision and any technocrat may anytime follow the advice of the judiciary, media or could also follow any popular demand. “The president is also suspicious over the media debate about polls’ delay despite the fact that he and the government ministers have been categorically stating that elections would be held on time. He also fears the khakis and can’t trust any retired judge or a technocrat. He wants appointment of politicians as caretaker prime minister and chief ministers,” he added. The source said Khursheed Shah had contacted Senator Ishaq Dar for communicating the PPP’s proposal to Nawaz instead of Nisar, who being leader of the opposition, should be the principal negotiator between both parties per the norms and constitutional provisions.
“However, we know that Nisar is on board,” the source added. Commenting on the development, a PML-N leader said Nawaz was likely to agree to the idea, as politicians were more credible than bureaucrats. “Over the years, Nawaz has changed a lot and he prefers politicians over bureaucrats due to his bitter experiences in the past,” said the N-leaguer, adding that to date, no name had been shared by the PPP as a possible caretaker PM. “The dialogue is at initial stages and only the idea of replacing technocrats with politicians in the caretaker setup is on the table,” he added.
He said if the PPP forwarded the name of Mian Raza Rabbani, the PML-N would possibly not object due to the non-controversial stature of the seasoned politician. However, he expressed his doubt that Asif Zardari would propose Rabbani as the caretaker PM.
“If initial messages make a breakthrough, formal talks would begin between the PPP and PML-N for formal dialogue. We understand that Asif Zardari fears that if both parties fail to evolve consensus before March, the chief election commissioner would have the final say and he would nominate the caretaker PM and CMs,” he added.
In case both the parties agree on a caretaker setup comprising politicians, the federal government would have to convince other major players in this regard and the coalition partners would have to be obliged.
The PML-N and PPP would dominate in Punjab, while the MQM and PPP would dominate in Sindh.
The PPP has also withheld the notification of PML-F nominee as opposition leader. The ANP would play an important role in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while the PPP, PML-Q and JUI-F would get significant shares in Balochistan.


  1. No matter which technique PML-N uses to delay the election, this time they know in their hearts that their position is weak. People are sick and tired of their white lies and cheap schemes to gain popularity such as Aashiyaana housing, Danish schools and laptops for youths at the expense of taxpayer’s hard earned money. Such short term measure can not augur well to their purposes. On one hand PML-N is trying to catch the people by wasting public money on personal publicity and vote garnering while at the same time, it is failing to improve the law and order situation, education, health ( case of dengue and life saving drugs is a clear example) and improving the life standard of browbeaten people.

  2. B it's about time Pakistan has new governing bodies new pm new president who will serve the people of Pakistan. They should all be honest people of integrity,who should rule Pakistan .pakistani people deserve better health and education. Above all there should be law and order .equal for everybody. Nobody should get away with any criminal activities. All Pakistan wealth should be invested in betterment of life and quality of Pakistani nation. At the present moment all the Pakistani parliament is corrupt. They have blood of innocent people over their heads . May they all rot in hell!!!!!!!!!!

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