–Sources say PML-N has focused its efforts to negotiate with ruling parties in those provinces where it wants to get its nominations considered for caretaker CMs
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is expected to convene a meeting of parliamentary parties, including the opposition, to discuss candidates for caretaker premier.
The caretaker PM is constitutionally appointed following the consensus between the leader of the house in National Assembly (prime minister) and leader of the opposition in NA. According to sources, the ruling party is willing to take other political forces on board, including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), to finalise a candidate for caretaker premiership.
Informal discussions with the Pakistan Muslim Le ague-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leaders suggest that the party’s leadership has decided to engage political parties and seek their respective nominations for the caretaker premier as part of the political bargain.
According to sources, the PML-N has focused its efforts to negotiate with the ruling parties in those provinces where it wants to get its nominations considered for chief minister.
Similarly, the leader of the house and leader of the opposition choose caretaker CMs in the respective provinces. “There is mixed arrangement at the provinces, we need to accommodate parliamentary forces at the centre in order to be accommodated in the provinces,” a well-placed source in PML-N said.
He said that the discussions on caretaker arrangements in the provinces have not yet taken place, adding that the initial focus on discussions between the government and opposition would be a caretaker PM with the selection of caretaker CMs to follow suit.
The formal process for choosing caretaker PM started on Wednesday following a meeting between PM Abbasi and Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah in which the names of potential candidates were discussed.
The names of former chief justices of Pakistan, including Nasirul Mulk, Anwar Zaheer Jamali, Jawwad S Khawaja and Mian Shakirullah Jan were discussed during Abbasi-Shah meeting, sources privy to the matter said.
Apart from these names, the two sides also discussed other names including that of former governors of State Bank Dr Shamshad Akhtar and Dr Ishrat Hussain, former caretaker PM Justice Mir Hazar Khan Khoso and ex-Supreme Court judge Nasir Aslam Zahid, according to reliable sources.
A source in PML-N who enjoys a close association with PM Abbasi said that the premier stressed upon reaching consensus during his meeting with Shah on choosing a candidate as caretaker PM, and added that the political parties should not leave space for ‘other institutions’ to intervene.
In case the leader of the house and leader of the opposition in NA fail to agree on caretaker PM, the matter would constitutionally land before the NA speaker who would form an eight-member parliamentary committee comprising MNAs and senators from ruling and opposition parties to pick a candidate as the caretaker PM.
The Election Commission of Pakistan would appoint a candidate as caretaker PM the way it did in 2013 when the ECP appointed Mir Hazar Khan Khoso after the government and opposition failed to agree on a candidate.
According to sources, no candidates have been shortlisted for caretaker premier yet since the PM wants the inclusion of other political parties in the process and get their respective inputs.