In maiden cabinet meeting, PM Kakar says interim set-up does not have ‘perpetual mandate’ to serve nation

Published August 18, 2023
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar during his cabinet meeting on Friday.—APP
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar during his cabinet meeting on Friday.—APP

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Friday acknowledged that the interim set-up did not have a “perpetual mandate” to serve the nation but vowed to do the same nonetheless.

He made the remarks while addressing the maiden meeting of the newly inducted interim cabinet. PM Kakar has installed a 24-member cabinet comprising politicians, TV artists and anchors, retired bureaucrats and servicemen, and one that is apparently dominated by the nominees of PML-N and PPP.

Addressing the cabinet meeting, Kakar began by praising the interim cabinet, saying that he was “proud” to have “one of the best teams”.

“I am hopeful that Almighty Allah would enable us to lead and steer this nation in this interim period. I am very well aware that we are here for an allocated time. We do not have a perpetual mandate to serve this nation,” he said.

PM Kakar said the caretaker set-up will try to lay foundations in order to have continuation of national and international commitments made by previous governments. “And in continuation of that, we will try to support new initiatives, whatever the law and Constitution allow us to do,” the premier said, specifically mentioning the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC).

PM Kakar termed the council “a dream come true”. He said that when he was growing up, it was always stated that Pakistan was an agricultural country with rich mineral resources.

“Hailing from Balochistan, we would take a lot of pride in our natural and mineral resources. But we never knew what those mineral resources were. But the day has arrived, with the support of all institutions — in which the Pakistan military is in the lead — to support, facilitate, encourage and realise this old national dream.”

He said that he personally believed that that this idea was not one of a particular institution. He further said that an institution “may be in the lead role” but the dream was “collectively owned” by the people of this country.

“So we all own it, we all support it and we will all contribute jointly towards it.”

Protecting minorities

Noting the polarisation in society, Kakar said that the interim government would try to differentiate between politics and law.

“There is a rule of law and there is a rule of order. We will ensure that rule of order is not compromised in any way. Rule of order would ensure and lead us to rule of law.”

He further said that there was no room for chaos or anarchy in any governance system, secular system or religious theocratic system. “So we know the sanctity of the order. That would be kept at any cost. Pakistan is shared by all ethnicities, creed and religious backgrounds.”

Referencing Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s speech on August 11, 1947, PM Kakar said that it was a projection of the idea that rights would not be prescribed on the basis of identity.

“There are many dreams around the globe but let’s start having the vision of a Pakistani dream. And let’s realise this Pakistani dream. The Pakistani dream is the dream of our soul. It is imbibed by the ideas of the enlightened Iqbal.

“We would strongly discourage rigidity in any form in this society. We do not stand for the forces of darkness. Rigidity may come in the garb of religion or secularism or any other form. These extreme attitudes, they are not just unwelcome, they will be discouraged.”

He noted that while Pakistan’s economic challenges were considerable, the caretaker government would try to ensure financial discipline. “We have a sense of sanctity of taxpayers’ money, on which we are having this meeting and consuming this water and tea.”

He said that the people of the country paid taxes so that the government could deliver and provide a secure environment for them. “So that utmost duty — maybe it is for a month, two, three or whatever the allocated time is — we will demonstrate not through our words but through our actions.”

The premier said that minorities would “stay protected”. He said that there may be an attempt to harm minorities in the country by “marginalised and peripheral” groups but the state and society would respond to this “sternly and strictly”.

“Pakistani state and society does not align and and identify with such elements. They may be from us but they are divorced from us.”

He further said that the majority had to protect the minority, adding that the latter’s basic dignity, security and sustenance had to be ensured.

May 9 violence

Talking about the events of May 9 at the tail-end of speech, Kakar expressed his “discomfort and disappointment”.

Drawing an analogy with how AIDS laid waste to a person’s immune system, the premier said, “For any polity, if its immune system is attacked, it leads to its fatality. And in our context, these emblems, these symbols are important.

“These state symbols when they are attacked, the state does not disappear or vanish in a day or two or a week. It’s a process and the initiation of that process, or an attempt at least to do so, was exhibited on May 9.

“We not just condemn it, now we are in the role to ensure that justice is being done and whosoever violated the laws on those days will be treated by those laws. There won’t be any favour, there won’t be any fear. We will try to implement with justice and neutrality,” he said.

Later in a post on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), he said, “We will ensure that justice is meted out to those involved in the May 9 attacks.”

He added that full force of the law will be applied to those who “infringed upon the sacrosanctity of the state’s emblems on that day”.

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