Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.—File photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani premier has proposed three nominees for the key position of caretaker prime minister, two days before assemblies are expected to be dissolved and an interim government appointed to oversee general elections.

In a letter written to Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Thursday after holding consultations within the ruling party and their allies, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf proposed the names of former Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, former director State Bank Dr Ishrat Hussain, and former chief justice of the Balochistan High Court, Mir Hazar Khan Khoso for caretaker PM.

“The above are persons of known standing, integrity and competence,” PM Ashraf wrote in the letter. “I look forward to an early response so that we can put a closure to the issue and move forward to set the stage for holding general elections in the country.”

PM Ashraf proposed the names in response to an earlier letter by Leader of the Opposition.

The opposition leader, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, has also put forth three nominees for the caretaker premiership: Justice (retired) Nasir Aslam Zahid, Justice (retired) Shakirullah Jan and Sindhi politician Rasul Bakhsh Paleejo.

Meanwhile, sources in the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N), the main opposition party in the National Assembly, has also called an important session to discuss the names put forth by the prime minister.

Under the Article 224 of the Constitution, Prime Minister Ashraf and opposition leader Nisar Ali Khan now have until three days after the dissolution of assemblies, expected March 16, to conclude their consultations on the caretaker prime minister.

In case of an agreement, one name will be sent to the president for appointment.

However, according to the constitution, if the two leaders fail to agree on one name for the key position, an eight-member parliamentary committee will be constituted by the National Assembly Speaker to select one name from the list of nominees as caretaker PM.


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