Anwaarul Haq Kakar was sworn in as the eighth interim prime minister of Pakistan on Monday.
Kakar, clad in a grey suit, was administered oath by President Arif Alvi in a ceremony held at the Aiwan-i-Sadr in Islamabad — which coincided with Independence Day.
The oath-taking ceremony was attended by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Asim Munir, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Naval Chief Admiral Amjad Khan Niazi, Inter Services Intelligence chief Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum and former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Prominent among others who attended the ceremony were ex-National Assembly speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori, Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Haji Ghulam Ali, PTI Senator Shahzad Waseem and PPP leader Faisal Karim Kundi.
After taking oath, Kakar also met officials of the armed forces and shook hands with them. He was also presented with a guard of honour later at the Prime Minister’s House.
He was welcomed by Shehbaz at the PM House, who was also presented with a guard of honour before leaving the PM House, state-run PTV News reported.
According to state broadcaster Radio Pakistan, a delegation from Balochistan, comprising Senator Sarfraz Bugti and Mir Khalid Langov, called on Kakar at the PM House.
Kakar’s first task now as the interim premier will be to choose a cabinet to run the country as it heads into an election period.
Kakar was announced as the interim premier on Saturday, following meetings between Shehbaz and former opposition leader Raja Riaz and several days of speculation about the probable choice for the post.
In a statement issued yesterday, Shehbaz had expressed confidence that Kakar would ensure fair elections. He said the “trust reposed by all parties in Kakar’s name proves their proper choice as the upcoming caretaker PM is an educated person and a patriot”.
According to the PML-N president, Kakar was decided upon under a constitutional process as he was the “most suitable person” to head the interim set-up.
Senate chairman accepts Kakar’s resignation
Earlier in the day, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjarani accepted Kakar’s resignation from the upper house of the Parliament.
A day earlier, the caretaker premier had announced his resignation from the Senate as well as the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), which he founded in 2018.
According to Geo News, Kakar stepped down from his post because he wanted to be an impartial interim premier. The media outlet quoted him as saying that since it was his responsibility to hold free and fair elections, for which he has to cooperate with the Election Commission of Pakistan, he had decided to resign.
A notification issued by the Senate Secretariat on Monday notified Kakar’s resignation.
“Anwaarul Haq Kakar, member Senate of Pakistan, has resigned his seat, as his principled stance of neutrality on becoming the caretaker prime minister, by writing under his hand in person before the Senate chairman,” the notification, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, said.
“The honourable Senate chairman has been pleased to accept the resignation and consequently his seat has become vacant in terms of clause (1) of Article 64 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan with effect from August 14,” it added.
Who is Anwaarul Haq Kakar?
Anwaarul Haq Kakar, who hails from Qilla Saifullah, was one of the original architects of the Balochistan Awami Party. He is the second person from Balochistan to spearhead the interim set-up after Mir Hazar Khoso, who became the caretaker premier in 2013.
His appointment comes with less than a year left in the completion of his six-year term in the Senate, which will conclude in March 2024.
While he does not hail from a traditional political family, earlier some of his relatives had been actively involved in politics.
Kakar made his electoral debut in 2008 on a PML-Q ticket, contesting polls in the NA-272 constituency, but lost to PPP candidate Nasir Ali Shah. Later, he joined the PML-N and served as then-CM Sanaullah Zehri’s spokesperson for almost three years.
In the same year, he became a senator as an independent candidate. Soon after, he announced the formation of BAP with the help of Syed Saeed Ahmed Hashmi. At the time, the PML-N and Baloch and Pashtun nationalist parties had labelled the hastily-cobbled alliance of the province’s electables “a move of the establishment”.
He has remained the chief spokesperson of the party, which also formed the government in Balochistan after the 2018 elections, and represented BAP in the Senate as its parliamentary leader for more than four years. He lost the role following a party reshuffle earlier this year.
In the Senate, he remained part of key standing committees on finance and revenue, foreign affairs and science and technology, and also served as the chairman of the Senate Standing Committee for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources.
Born to a middle-class Pashtun family on May 15, 1971 in Qila Saifullah, a district bordering Afghanistan, Kakar is fluent in English, Persian, Balochi, Brahvi, and Urdu, as well as his native Pashto.
Kakar attended a private school in Quetta for his initial education and was later admitted to Cadet College Kohat for intermediate studies. He returned to Quetta and graduated from the University of Balochistan, subsequently obtaining a Masters degree in Sociology and Political Science.
After completing his education in Pakistan, he went to the UK for a law degree, but returned without completing his studies.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Gen (retd) Nadeem Raza as the incumbent Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee when in fact he stepped down from the position last year. The error is regretted.