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Stalemate persists; PC to settle caretaker PM issue

March 20, 2013

Lights reflect on wet ground in front of Parliament House during rain. — Online Photo by Waseem Khan.

ISLAMABAD: The deadlock over the appointment of caretaker prime minister continued late Tuesday as the government and the opposition failed to evolve consensus till midnight, the constitutional deadline. An eight-member Parliamentary Committee will now look into the matter.

However, Syed Khurshid Shah of PPP and Senator Ishaq Dar of PML-N dismissed the impression about an impasse between the two sides.

In a meeting, held earlier on Tuesday, both Shah and Dar discussed the dissolution of Punjab Assembly and names for the slot of caretaker PM and chief minister in Punjab.

They expressed hope that issues will be resolved amicably after PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif returns home from abroad.

The ruling quarters have taken the opposition into confidence over the holding of general elections on May 9 and consultation is underway in this regard, said sources.

Meanwhile, Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza has constituted the parliamentary committee on appointment of the caretaker premier.

According to the notification, issued by the National Assembly Secretariat, the speaker has constituted the committee in pursuance of clause 1 of Article 224 (A) of the Constitution.

The committee will comprise Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah, Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, Senator Farooq H. Naek, Senator Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan Abbasi, Senator Pervez Rasheed, Khawaja Saad Rafiq, and Sardar Yaqoob Khan Nasir.

Under the constitution, the parliamentary committee has to evolve a consensus on one name for the caretaker prime minister within three days and if it fails to do so in the stipulated time, the matter will automatically go to the Election Commission, which will have to finalise one name out of four, two each from the prime minister and the opposition leader in the NA.

Earlier, a meeting of leaders of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), chaired by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf had ended with the party unwilling to compromise on the names of its nominees for caretaker prime minister.

The PPP had initially proposed the names of Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Dr Ishrat Hussain, and Justice (retd) Mir Hazar Khan Khoso for the position of caretaker PM. While, the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz had proposed the names of Justice (retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid, Justice (retd) Shakirullah Jan and Rasul Bakhsh Palijo.

All four names from the opposition’s side of the parliamentary committee are of PML-N members. However, constitutional experts have said PML-N has to give equal representation to all opposition parties in the committee so its members do not become controversial.

Moreover, speaking at a press conference in Lahore, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan blamed PPP for the stalemate on appointing caretaker PM and said even the parliamentary committee is not likely to resolve the issue.

He also assailed the PPP for choosing Justice (retd) Zahid Qurban Alvi as likely caretaker CM in Sindh and alleged that the MQM parted ways to sit on opposition benches just to influence the appointment of caretakers through joint planning with the ruling party.

The PML-N leader said that Justice (retd) Alvi is considered to have close ties with the PPP.