ISLAMABAD: Former Senate chairperson and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Raza Rabbani has urged all political parties to arrive at a consensus regarding the name for caretaker prime minister and avoid sending the matter to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Mr Rabbani said the appointment of caretaker prime minister was a political question, and that parliament and political parties “should walk the extra mile to achieve this consensus”.

He appealed to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah, in particular, to strive to reach a consensus regarding the name of caretaker prime minister.

Former Senate chairman opposes election commission’s role in matter

The former Senate chairperson said that the functions of a caretaker PM and their government simply entailed running the day-to-day affairs of state. A caretaker prime minister, he said, could not take far-reaching policy or financial decisions that would bind future governments. Such practices (of being involved in policy and financial decisions), had proven disastrous in the past, he said, and called for the Senate to ensure that the coming caretaker government was restricted to its role under the Constitution.

A caretaker prime minister is appointed after consultation between the prime minister and opposition leader, who are required to submit three names each. Once they arrive at a consensus, they have to send six names to the ECP, which then appointments a caretaker prime minister.

In the lead up to the 2013 general elections, the ECP had appointed the caretaker prime minister after then prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and then opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had failed to arrive at a consensus in this regard.

Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2018