PESHAWAR, Feb 16: Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti has contacted opposition leader in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Akram Khan Durrani for consultation on formation of caretaker setup in the province.

The contact was made during all parties conference in Islamabad on Thursday last. Mr Durrani told Dawn here on Saturday that he held a brief discussion with the chief minister on the appointment of caretaker setup in the province, on the sideline of the APC.

This was the first formal contact between the government and opposition concerning caretaker setup and both the leaders had agreed to meet after Feb 24 for consultations on the issue.

“We can meet anytime after Feb 24,” said Mr Durrani, who belongs to Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) of Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

The opposition leader said that after his upcoming meeting with the chief minister, he (Durrani) would make contacts with the opposition parties in and outside the assembly to find a suitable candidate for the post of caretaker chief minister. He said that after consultation he would present the name of an appropriate person for the slot.

The opposition parties having representation in the provincial assembly are; JUI-F, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Qaumi Watan Party, while status of PML-Q in the assembly is undecided. The Awami National Party and Pakistan People’s Party are on the treasury side in the 124-member House.

Under Article 224 (1A) of the Constitution, the governor will appoint a caretaker chief minister in consultation with the chief minister and leader of the opposition in the outgoing provincial assembly. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly will complete its five-year term on April 2.

Mr Durrani said that he would also contact Jamaat-i-Islami, Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf and other political parties outside the assembly to seek their consent on nomination of a neutral person for the office of caretaker CM.

“Constitutionally, I am not bound to consult other political parties on the name of caretaker chief minister and this is prerogative of the leader of the house and leader of the opposition to choose fair and impartial person for the slot,” he maintained.

However, the opposition leader said that  he would try to consult maximum number of political parties to set a good example. He said that the province was passing through crises and it was necessary to appoint a neutral and competent person for the slot.

Mr Durrani said that he was not happy with the role of PML-N in the assembly, as it never supported the opposition in the House during last five years. He said that despite that he would contact PML-N parliamentary leader Pir Sabir Shah.

He said that overall the ruling and opposition parties in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had established good precedents and elected chief minister, speaker and deputy speaker unanimously and they would show political maturity for the transitional phase.

Within opposition, the political parties have different priorities concerning qualifications of the caretaker CM. The QWP’s parliamentary leader, Sikandar Sherpao, said his party would like a retired judge or a senior retired bureaucrat for the slot. He said that a political personality could not remain neutral. JI provincial chief Prof Mohammad Ibrahim also holds similar views.

However, Mr Durrani said that he would prefer nomination of a political personality for leading the caretaker setup. “Politicians can perform better as compared to others,” he said.

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