BAP’s Anwaarul Haq Kakar named caretaker prime minister

Published August 12, 2023
Senator Anwaarul Haq Kakar has been chosen as the caretaker prime minister. — Photo via Twitter
Senator Anwaarul Haq Kakar has been chosen as the caretaker prime minister. — Photo via Twitter

Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) Senator Anwaarul Haq Kakar has been chosen as the interim prime minister of Pakistan. His job is to keep the country running until a new government is elected.

According to a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, the much-anticipated announcement came after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and outgoing Opposition Leader in the National Assembly (NA) Raja Riaz reached a consensus over Kakar’s name for the coveted post during a meeting in Islamabad today.

Subsequently, the two leaders sent an advice regarding Kakar’s appointment as the caretaker prime minister to President Arif Alvi, who shortly afterwards accorded his assent.

“President Dr Arif Alvi has approved the appointment of Anwaarul Haque Kakar as caretaker prime minister. The president approved the appointment under Article 224-A of the Constitution,” a statement by the Aiwan-e-Sadr said.

Earlier, in a media talk outside the Prime Minister’s House after meeting PM Shehbaz, Riaz also confirmed that Kakar had been picked to head the interim set-up.

“We had earlier decided that the caretaker PM should be someone from a smaller province and a non-controversial personality. Our aim was to remove the sense of deprivation in small provinces.

“We have finally reached a consensus that Anwaarul Haq Kakar will be the caretaker PM,” Riaz said.

“I had given this name and the PM has consented to this name … I and the PM have signed on the summary,” he told reporters, adding Kakar would be sworn in tomorrow (Sunday).

Riaz added that a discussion on the caretaker cabinet was not held in his meeting with PM Shehbaz today.

He later said in Geo News show ‘Naya Pakistan’ that there was a likelihood of some economic experts becoming a part of the interim cabinet.

“The [interim] finance minister, in particular, will be an economic expert. I believe that the [interim] finance minister will be a technocrat,” he said.

Reactions

Reacting to the development, PPP Senator Saleem Mandviwalla congratulated Kakar on assuming the role of caretaker prime minister.

“We hope Anwaarul Haq Kakar will discharge his duties in accordance with the Constitution and legal provisions,” he shared with Dawn.com.

Mandviwala observed that Kakar was entering the position of caretaker prime minister during a demanding period.

He believed that ensuring equitable and transparent elections would pose a substantial challenge for the new interim PM. “We expect the premier will fulfill his responsibilities with utmost diligence,” he appended.

The senator also conveyed his best wishes to the caretaker premier.

Former information minister and ex-PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said Kakar was an “honest, educated and modest” Pakistani.

“After a long time, some good news has come for Pakistan. May God be your supporter and bless this decision for Pakistan,” he said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

PPP leader Faisal Karim Kundi welcomed the development and congratulated Kakar. “PPP left it to PM Shehbaz to nominate [caretaker] PM with the consultation of opposition leader.

“Hope under his leadership Election Commission will conduct free and fair elections,” he added.

Contrary to his colleague Kundi, PPP’s Khursheed Shah opposed Kakar’s selection and said, “We were not aware that Anwaarul Haq’s name will be finalised, and it would have been better if another person was selected for the post.”

However, he added, “Anwaarul Haq Kakar would be remembered if he succeeds in ensuring transparent elections.

Shah, in a statement, said that the PPP had proposed five names for the interim PM, which did not include Kakar. He shared four names he said were recommended by the PPP — Salim Abbas Jilani, Jalil Abbas Jilani, Muhammad Malik and Afzal Khan.

“Whoever proposed his (Kakar) name, we should hope for good,” the PPP leader said.

Shah’s statement gave the impression that the PPP had reservations over Kakar’s appointment, which party leader Shazia Marri dispelled.

She said the PPP had entrusted Shehbaz Sharif with the authority to recommend the name for the interim premier, adding that her party’s sole focus now was the upcoming general elections, and it wanted them to be held in line with the law and the Constitution.

PTI Senator Ali Zafar said Kakar is an “intelligent, articulate [and] reasonable man”.

“[He] believes in politics of cooperation not confrontation: has always well represented the interests of Balauchistan [sic]. Wish him the best,” he tweeted.

Separately, Bloomberg quoted political commentator Hasan Askari Rizvi as saying that Kakar’s true test would be whether he follows the IMF’s approach and conducts inclusive elections involving all political parties.

He separately told AFP that Kakar “has a limited political career and not much weight in Pakistani politics”, but that could work in his favour.

“This can be an advantage because he has no strong affiliation with the major political parties,” he said.

“But the disadvantage is that being a lightweight politician he may find it difficult to cope with the problems he’s going to face without the active support of the military establishment.”

Deliberations on caretaker premier

The process for the appointment of the caretaker PM kicked off a day after the premature dissolution of the National Assembly on Aug 9. The first meeting between PM Shehbaz and Raja Riaz was held on Aug 10 wherein both the leaders exchanged a list of probable candidates for the coveted slot.

The second round of consultations was held last night during a dinner hosted by PM Shehbaz for leaders of the outgoing ruling alliance.

Subsequently, PM Shehbaz had expressed confidence that the name of the head of the interim set-up would be finalised by Saturday.

Sources privy to the current political situation told Dawn that the delay in nominating a caretaker prime minister was apparently because Raja Riaz, generally believed to be a “friendly opposition leader”, came out to be a different man, as he had been insisting on his candidate instead of agreeing to the names suggested by the PML-N.

Sources said PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif was insisting, through PM Shehbaz Sharif, on former finance minister Ishaq Dar to be picked as caretaker premier, and if not Dar, then former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

However, Riaz, a PTI dissident with no backing of a political party, was getting dictation from another power corridor and insisting on the name of Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, sources claimed. Sanjrani called on Riaz on Friday, as well as Dar and Ahsan Iqbal.


Additional input from APP

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