ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan is likely to take the oath as the 21st elected prime minister of the country on Indepen­dence Day.

“It is my and caretaker prime minister retired Justice Nasirul Mulk’s desire that the oath-taking of the new prime minister should take place on Aug 14,” caretaker law minister Ali Zafar told Dawn on Friday.

Read: Imran Khan opts for austere oath-taking ceremony

Unveiling a tentative schedule of the National Assembly formation, the law minister said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was already on board as the ECP was engaged in making necessary arrangements required to hold the prime minister’s election on the desired date.

Mr Zafar said a fresh session of the assembly could be called on Aug 11 or 12.

“If it is held on Aug 11, the election of the prime minister can take place on Aug 14 and on the same day Presi­dent Mamnoon Hussain can administer the oath to the new prime minister,” he added.

He elaborated that if the NA session was held on Aug 11, the same day the new members would be administered the oath. He added that after printing of ballot papers for the elections of the NA speaker and deputy speaker, their elections could take place on Aug 13 and the next day the election of the prime minister could be held.

However, if the NA session was called on Aug 12, the election of the prime minister would be held on Aug 15. “We wanted that the new prime minister should take his oath on Independence Day so that the new government can start its functioning with full national fervour and commitment to bring progress to the country,” he said.

Meanwhile, successful candidates of the July 25 general elections will have to submit returns of their election expenses on Aug 4 (today) — the deadline fixed by the ECP for filing of returns — and a notification will be issued the following day.

Three days will be given to independent candidates if they want to join any party. Similarly, three days will be spent on seats reserved for women and minorities.

The caretaker law minister told the media that as per Constitution the first session of the National Assembly would have to be summoned within 21 days after the general election. He said it was necessary to fulfil this obligation by Aug 15.

After election, the newly-elected prime minister would take the oath and the job of the caretaker PM and his cabinet would be over and power would be transferred to the new government under constitutional provisions.

The minister said the ECP was completing legal formalities including consolidation of elections results and collection of returns of election expenditures from the wining candidates. The ECP after giving time to independent candidates to join a political party or stay independent would issue parties position in the assembly, Mr Zafar said, adding that after that the ECP would issue a list of winning candidates on reserved seat for women and minorities.

In reply to a question, he said the caretaker government during its short tenure had performed its duties with commitment and dedication and took steps for overcoming challenges in power, energy, water, law and petroleum sectors and matters related to foreign affairs and prepared guidelines which he hoped would help the next government to run the business of the governance smoothly.

Earlier on July 30, PTI chairman Imran Khan, who claimed to have secured a simple majority in the polls required to form his government, had expressed his desire to take the oath of PM on Aug 11.

The PTI emerged as the single largest party in the National Assembly with 115 general seats while with the addition of the general and reserved seats of its allies the party claimed to have secured at least 172 seats, whereas Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party won 64 and 43 general seats of the lower house, respectively.

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2018

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