No names finalised for caretaker prime minister: PM Shehbaz

Published August 8, 2023
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif speaks in an interview on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif speaks in an interview on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV

With just a day left in the dissolution of the National Assembly and reports of various names being considered for the caretaker prime minister’s slot, outgoing PM Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday denied the finalisation of any candidates for the post.

“No. None till now … no name has been shortlisted,” he said during an interview on Dawn News show ‘Live with Adil Shahzeb’ when asked about the nominees.

The premier added consultations with the government’s allies and his own party members on the matter were a “continuous process” that would be completed within a day or two.

To a question about a PML-N member being appointed as the interim premier, he said parties in the ruling coalition should make a decision to ensure that the status of the interim prime minister was “generally acceptable” to the people.

Asked specifically about former finance minister Dr Hafeez Sheikh being considered for the slot, the prime minister reiterated that no name had been finalised.

While the PM denied the finalisation of any names, Dawn, citing sources, has reported that the ruling coalition seems to have evolved a consensus on the name for the caretaker prime min­ister’s slot but is keeping their identity a secret, ostensibly to save the nominee from controversy.

The prime minister and the opposition leader can consult on the matter for three days, even after the dissolution of the assembly. In case a consensus is not reached, then the matter is referred to the Election Commission of Pakistan.

As speculations grow, the Shaikh is said to be the strongest contender. He is one of the technocrats who is believed to be acceptable to all mainstream political parties and his name is always considered whenever an interim government is installed in the country.

Apart from him, several possible names for the caretaker PM are circulating in the media. These include Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, former prime minister and estranged PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, ex-principal secretary to PM Fawad Hassan Fawad, former chief justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jilani, ex- permanent representative to the UN Abdullah Hussain Haroon, Pir of Pagaro Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi and former Punjab governor and PPP’s Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood, etc.

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