Anwaarul Haq Kakar sworn in as caretaker prime minister amid allies’ grumblings

Published August 15, 2023
President Arif Alvi administered the oath to Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq at the Aiwan-i-Sadr in Islamabad on Monday. — Photo courtesy PID
President Arif Alvi administered the oath to Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq at the Aiwan-i-Sadr in Islamabad on Monday. — Photo courtesy PID

• Process for appointment of caretaker cabinet to start from today; Shehbaz departs PM House with guard of honour
• Asif says PPP and PML-N had agreed on Dr Malik’s name; ANP also miffed

ISLAMABAD: After he took oath as the eighth interim prime minister of Pakistan on Monday, Anwaarul Haq Kakar will start consultations for the formation of the caretaker cabinet today, even as former ruling coalition members, particularly PML-N, expre­ssed reservations over his ‘surprise’ selection to lead the interim set-up.

The appointment of the former senator, who founded the Balochistan Awami Party, came as a surprise for many in the outgoing coalition government after his name was announced by former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif and NA Opposition Leader Raja Riaz following protracted consultations.

President Dr Arif Alvi administered the oath to the caretaker prime minister in a ceremony at the President House on Monday, which was attended by outgoing PM Shehbaz Sharif, COAS Gen Asim Munir, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, Punjab Governor Balighur Reh­man, Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori, Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi, Khyber Pakhtun­khwa Caretaker Chief Minister Azam Khan, and others.

Following the oath-taking ceremony which coincided with Independence Day celebrations, the interim premier was presented with a ‘guard of honour’ at the Prime Minister’s House, where outgoing PM Shehbaz Sharif welcomed him. Mr Sharif was also given a guard of honour as he bid farewell to the PM House after a 16-month tenure.

Caretaker cabinet

After taking oath, caretaker PM Kakar started consultations for the formation of the interim cabinet. According to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Senator Sarfraz Bugti, Mir Khalid Langov, and ex-provincial minister Mir Asim Kurd Gello called on the caretaker PM. It has been learnt that PM Kakar will also be forming his cabinet from Tuesday (today).

Earlier in the day, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjarani accepted Kakar’s resignation from the upper house of parliament.

Reservations on ‘surprise’

A day after BNP chief Akhtar Mengal aired reservations on Kakar’s nomination, PML-N stalwart Khawaja Asif also expressed concerns over the appointment of the ex-senator as the head of the interim government.

The PML-N leader said that the PPP and other parties part of the former ruling coalition had agreed on the name of Dr Abdul Malik, the former Balochistan chief minister and a leader of the National Party.

“In our (PML-N and PPP) meeting it was decided that the caretaker PM will be from a smaller province and both parties agreed on the name of Dr Abdul Malik,” Mr Asif said, adding that there was no objection to the name of Dr Malik for the slot. He said it was ‘quite natural’ to assume that Mr Kakar’s name was being linked to the establishment.

Similarly, ANP provincial president Aimal Wali Khan also questioned the logic behind making a sitting senator the caretaker prime minister.

While appearing on a TV show, the ANP leader said that it seemed that by making a sitting senator the caretaker prime minister a message was conveyed that the BAP was a non-political entity, which was not the case.

The appointment of Anwaarul Haq Kakar has also caused a further rift between the PML-N and BNP-M. In his letter, Mr Mengal expressed reservations about the government’s decision to choose Mr Kakar as the interim premier without consulting with allied parties.

PPP leader Khursheed Shah had also expressed reservations the day Mr Kakar’s name was announced. Mr Shah said no one was aware that Mr Kakar would become the interim PM.

Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2023

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