Senator Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar was named as Pakistan‘s caretaker prime minister to govern the cash-strapped country ahead of the critical general elections later this year. He was chosen by the country’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and outgoing opposition leader in the national assembly, Raja Riaz Ahmad Khan.
The Prime Minister’s Office informed, “The prime minister and leader of the opposition jointly signed the advice and it was sent to the president.” President Arif Alvi accepted his selection as interim prime minister in accordance with Article 224(1A) of the constitution.
He signed the recommendation at the presidential palace soon after it was dispatched for his approval. The decision transpired after he dissolved the national assembly when Shehbaz Sharif who is also the president of the Pakistan Muslim League forwarded a summary to him for dissolution of the lower house of the Parliament.
A statement by the Aiwan-e-Sadr read, “President Dr Arif Alvi has approved the appointment of Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar as caretaker prime minister. The president approved the appointment under Article 224-A of the Constitution.”
صدر مملکت ڈاکٹر عارف علوی نے انوار الحق کاکڑ کی بطور نگران وزیراعظم تعیناتی کی منظوری دے دی
صدر مملکت نے تعیناتی کی منظوری آئین کے آرٹیکل 224 ایک اے کے تحت کی pic.twitter.com/U8mGQXLZva
— The President of Pakistan (@PresOfPakistan) August 12, 2023
Who is Senator Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar
The lawmaker is from the southwestern province of Balochistan. He was elected as senator in 2018 and his term is set to be concluded in March 2024. He was the parliamentary leader of the Balochistan Awami Party for five years. Interestingly, he was the co-founder of the party.
He contested for the national assembly from Quetta in 2008 on a Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid ticket and as the spokesman of the government of Balochistan in 2013. He presently serves as the committee’s chair in the senate. He graduated from the University of Balochistan with a master’s degree in political science and sociology.
Notably, the temporary prime minister is now more significant because he is going to be in charge of the national elections and has the authority to set economic policy. The schedule for the national elections in Pakistan is yet to be announced.
He chairs Senate Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development. He is also a member of the Business Advisory Committee, Finance and Revenue, Foreign Affairs and Science and Technology.
The selection process for the new interim PM
A day earlier, Shehbaz Sharif told journalists in Islamabad that the Pakistani Constitution permitted the caretaker prime minister eight days to be nominated following the dissolution of parliament.
President Arif Alvi dissolved the national assembly on 9 August at the suggestion of the current premier. This paved the way for general elections to take place at the latest on 9 November.
When the legislature is dissolved before the conclusion of its five-year term, the constitution offers a 90-day window for arranging elections. After the assembly disbanded, the nation prepared to hold general elections in the midst of a political and economic crisis despite being granted an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout package.
The Pakistan People’s Party leader Raja Riaz Ahmad Khan remarked, “We had earlier decided that the caretaker PM should be someone from a smaller province and a non-controversial personality. Our aim was to remove the sense of deprivation in small provinces. We have finally reached a consensus that Anwaarul Haq Kakar will be the caretaker PM,” while talking to the media outside Prime Minister’s House after meeting Shehbaz Sharif.
He revealed, “I had given this name and the PM has consented to this name. I and the PM have signed the summary.” He further added that a discussion on the caretaker cabinet was not held in the meeting.
After the approval of the census for 2023 was announced, former federal ministers from Shehbaz Sharif’s cabinet have sparked rumours that the general elections might be delayed since it could take the Pakistani Election Commission 120 days to decide on new delimitations.
The National Assembly was supposed to conclude its term on 12 August but the prime minister requested the dissolution three days earlier exercising his authority under Article 58(1). On August 11, The President wrote to the PM and the opposition leader to request their nominees for the post on 11 August amid numerous rumours regarding various potential candidates for the position of interim premier.
According to the letter’s citation of Article 224(1)A of the constitution, the president installs the interim prime minister at the proposal of the cabinet. He recalled that in compliance with the constitution, the prime minister and the leader of the opposition must propose the name of the interim premier within three days afterwards the dissolution of the national assembly which occurred on 9 August.
He emphasised that Shehbaz Sharif’s counsel was the reason he abolished the national assembly. Now, he continued, that the PM and opposition leader should within the time allotted by the constitution offer the name of a suitable caretaker premier. Both leaders were holding talks on the matter since 9 August.
The opposition leader was invited by the prime minister for consultation in keeping with the constitution, as per a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) earlier this week. Shehbaz Sharif remained evasive when questioned by reporters about the president’s letter and maintained that the constitution is quite explicit about the process for appointing an interim prime minister.
According to the law, the outgoing premier and the leader of the opposition may each present two names to a parliamentary committee if they are unable to agree on a single candidate for temporary prime minister. The Election Commission of Pakistan would have two days to select a name from the list of candidates submitted with it by the committee if it is unable to select a candidate.
The Prime Minister reiterated that the name is most likely to be revealed on 12 August while speaking to journalists in Islamabad. He pointed out that prior to arriving at a final decision, he would speak with representatives from the political parties affiliated with the Pakistan Democratic Movement. He is also going to meet with the opposition leader again.
Shehbaz Sharif highlighted that in comparison to his 38-year political career, the last 16 months had been the most difficult throughout his time in office. He alleged that he was able to succeed on a variety of fronts by collaborating with all parties.
It is important to note that Pakistan is going through an unprecedented economic and political crisis along with major incidents of terror attacks on civilians, law enforcement and defence forces.