Stirring up the hornets’ nest


Questions on the caretaker setup

If there was any possibility of Hussain Haroon becoming the caretaker prime minister, it has been precluded by leaking his name and the spelling out of the quid pro quo if the PML-N was to accept him. The entire proposal creates the perception of a crude businesslike offer from the ruling coalition and that too not to the parliamentary opposition but to the PML-N in its individual capacity. Any acceptance of the formula by the PML-N would compromise its position. What is more it is bound to be shot down by Imran Khan as striking a bargain, Muk Muka in local colloquial, between the two parties, dubbing the collusion between the two as an intent to obtain results of their own liking.

The issue of a caretaker setup prior to the elections has to be taken up seriously. An independent caretaker arrangement is crucial for free and fair elections. Any irresponsible move or wrong decision could stir up a hornets’ nest leading to widespread protests. This in return would provide an opportunity to those waiting in the wings for an opportunity to upset the apple cart.

While the constitution requires the leader of the house and the opposition to reach a consensus over the issue, the sense of the provision requires consultation between the ruling alliance and the entire parliamentary opposition. While it is not mandatory to consult the parties outside parliament, it would be unwise to ignore the major parties which boycotted the 2008 elections but are keen to take part in the exercise now. Foremost in the category are the PTI, JI and the nationalist parties from Balochistan and Sindh. Good sense requires that the PM and the leader of the opposition hold consultations with them also before they sit down to settle the issue.

One fails to understand why the government ignores genuine stake holders in Pakistan’s politics while paying undue attention to Tahir ul Qadri who cannot be elected after becoming a Canadian national. Important government leaders continue to bend over backwards to please this political non entity, even making promises to consult him first on the issue of the caretaker setup. This raises questions.


  1. Considering the communication and personal G*A*P*S between political and non-political stake-holders in Pakistan – it would be better to have a Care-Taker Setup after every 5years appointed by the United-Nations. This will definitely solve this mystery for ever and everyone will be happy. The PM can be from Sweden, the Interior from Saudi Arabia, Finance Minister from Iran, and Defence Minister from USA or for Foreign Affairs – UN can appoint anyone from U.K, rest of the ministers are not that important.

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