Interim Prime Minister shortlisted by PDM

As consultations continue within the ruling allies about the caretaker set-up, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah revealed on Sunday that an apolitical person or a technocrat may be appointed as the interim prime minister. He hinted that former finance minister Hafeez Shaikh and a retired Supreme Court judge are among the shortlisted candidates for Interim Prime Minister by PDM, while Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi are not in contention.

During a Geo News program, Mr. Sanaullah emphasized that the caretaker prime minister would be a neutral individual with no political affiliations. He ruled out the possibility of Mr. Dar becoming the interim premier, noting that it was decided earlier that an apolitical person would be chosen for the position.

However, Mr. Sanaullah stated that if a decision is made to consider a political person for the slot, then the names of Mr. Dar, Mr. Abbasi, and Raza Rabbani could be taken into consideration. When asked if Hafeez Shaikh was willing to take on this responsibility, Mr. Sanaullah expressed confidence that he would be up for the task. He also mentioned that the name of a retired Supreme Court judge is among the potential candidates.

Hafeez Shaikh and Fawad Hassan Fawad are among the Interim Prime Ministers

In addition to Hafeez Shaikh, other individuals circulating as potential caretaker prime minister candidates in the media include Fawad Hassan Fawad, former principal secretary to the prime minister; Abdullah Hussain Haroon, former permanent representative to the United Nations; Pir of Pagaro VII, Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi; and former Punjab governor Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood of PPP. There are many other names roaming around in the corridors of power in Islamabad and many senators and law makers intend to prepare their new suits, if only they were asked by the Establishment.

Dissolution of National Assembly

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has already announced the dissolution of the National Assembly on August 9, three days before the government’s term expires. All coalition parties have endorsed this decision, which means that, according to the Constitution, the next general elections should be held within 90 days. Mr. Sanaullah mentioned that the name of the caretaker premier will be revealed by Tuesday. According to a source, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif will finalize three names, which will then be shared with the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Raja Riaz. The final selection will be made by PM Shehbaz with Mr. Riaz’s consent.

Regarding the recent approval of the latest census results, Mr. Sanaullah said that all political parties and provinces demand that the upcoming general elections be held based on the new census data. This approval may potentially delay the polls, as constituencies will need to be redrawn under the new census. Mr. Sanaullah suggested that the elections could be delayed by 120 days, and it wouldn’t be an issue if they are held in February-March next year.

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Asif Ali Zardari keenly observing

Meanwhile, PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari is keenly observing political developments while staying at his Islamabad residence. PPP leader Faisal Karim Kundi had already submitted three names to the prime minister for the caretaker interim prime minister. It is expected that Mr. Zardari will meet with leaders of other allied parties in the ruling coalition on Monday and Tuesday to finalize the names for the caretaker prime minister and other members of the interim cabinet.

Although the five-year term of President Arif Alvi is set to end next month, he will continue in his position until his successor is elected, as per the Constitution. If President Alvi resigns, the Senate chairman will take his place, and if the Senate chairman is unavailable, the National Assembly speaker will assume the position.

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