PM Abbasi, Opp leader Shah fail to reach consensus over caretaker setup


–Khursheed Shah says matter will be referred to committee if he and PM are not able to come up with a name for caretaker PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah failed to reach consensus on the name for the position of caretaker premier during a meeting held at Prime Minister’s House on Tuesday.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Khursheed Shah said he will hold another meeting with Abbasi either on Wednesday or Thursday to finalise the name for caretaker premier. The opposition leader said that he and the prime minister both agreed to think some more on the matter. “It would be good for parliament if this matter can be agreed upon in [the upcoming] meeting,” he added.

“If not, then [a committee] will be constituted, to which the names will be sent within three days and the majority decision will be [implemented],” Shah said, adding that he has put forward names of senior bureaucrats for consideration for the post of caretaker PM.

According to details, the government has suggested names of former chief justice of Pakistan Justice (r) Nasirul Mulk, Justice (r) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani – also a former chief justice – and former State Bank governor Dr Shamshad Akhtar.

Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations Dr Maleeha Lodhi, who was earlier touted as among the favourites for the post, is missing from the list, according to details.

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has finalised the names of Zaka Ashraf and Jalil Abbas Jilani for the caretaker prime minister. Khursheed Shah had reportedly forwarded these names to PM Abbasi and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari had telephoned Ashraf and Jilani informing them of the party’s decision.

Former Pakistan Ambassador to the United Nations Abdullah Hussain Haroon and former State Bank governor Dr Ishrat Hussain are also being speculated for the post.

The current government is expected to conclude its five-year term on May 31, after which the caretaker government will take over to hold the general elections, which are expected to be held in the last week of July or the first week of August.