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ISLAMABAD: After the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has also started finding fault with the caretakers as the party on Friday objected to the caretaker government’s plan to make appointments in government departments.

In a statement, PPP secretary general Nayyar Bokhari reminded the caretakers that they were only required to assist the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the holding of elections in a transparent and fair manner, asking them to stay within the constitutional and legal limits.

The caretaker government: Why do we have one and what purpose does it fulfil?

The statement was issued by the party a day after the ECP lifted the ban on recruitment in government departments placed by it on April 11. A notification issued by the ECP on Thursday stated that the caretaker governments would not make promotions or appointments of major public officials but might make acting or short-term appointments in public interest.

Mr Bokhari said under the Elections Act 2017, the caretakers were required to look after only day-to-day affairs of the country and did not have the powers to make long-term decisions, which was the mandate of only elected government. He said that appointments by the caretaker government would fall in the category of “election rigging”.

The PPP leader said that the caretakers had assumed power only for 50 to 60 days and during this period they would not be able to fulfil the requirements of making appointments on the basis of merit and in a transparent manner.

Meanwhile, the PTI has written a letter to caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk, alleging that former Intelligence Bureau (IB) director general Aftab Sultan built a team under him, which ran a political cell within the bureau to serve his vested interests.

“After his [Mr Sultan’s] retirement on April 2, the post of the IB DG was deliberately kept vacant for approximately two months to choose a suitable candidate who can serve the PML-N and appointment of Dr Suleman Khan is a designed step in this direction,” PTI senior vice president Ali Zaidi alleges in his letter to the caretaker prime minister.

The PTI leader alleged that the selection of Dr Khan had been made in consultation with already existing core team of the IB political cell to ensure continuity of services to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). He identified five officials of the IB as members of the core team.

“The PTI, being a frontline stakeholder, requests the removal of the IB chief and also disbanding of the political cell within the IB to ensure free and fair elections,” Mr Zaidi demands.

He draws attention of the caretaker prime minister to “controversial role” of the IB in the past owing to “its strong ties with political personalities, including ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif and other members of the House of Sharifs”.

He alleges that former chief of the IB Aftab Sultan was found “serving”, both in and outside country, Nawaz Sharif even after his disqualification by the Supreme Court.

Last week, the PTI reacted strongly when two caretaker ministers held a news conference on the issue of electricity situation and claimed that the country had the capacity to generate the required quantum of power.

The PTI, which had initially welcomed the caretaker set-up, criticised it for allegedly acting in the interest of the PML-N and “advised the interim government not to play politics”.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2018