Decision comes after second round of talks between PM Shehbaz and Opposition Leader Raja Riaz
After days of deliberation over the name of caretaker prime minister ahead of the general election in the country, Senator Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar — a lawmaker associated with the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) — has been finalised to assume the coveted post.
The development came after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing National Assembly Raja Riaz reached consensus on the name of Kakar for the slot of interim prime minister during the second round of consultation. Later a summary to this effect was approved by President Arif Alvi under Article 224 1A.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Riaz said: “We decided that the interim prime minister would be from a smaller province”.
He said the main purpose was that the caretaker prime minister should be from a small province and a non-controversial personality. He said the aim was also to remove the sense of deprivation of small provinces.
He said that Kakar’s name was suggested by him which was approved.
Responding to question, Raja Riaz said that the caretaker Prime Minister is expected to take oath of office on Sunday.
When asked about the caretaker cabinet, he said no discussion was held on it as the prerogative rests with the caretaker prime minister.
The development came after President Dr Arif Alvi wrote a letter to PM Shehbaz, reminding him and the opposition leader to suggest a “suitable person” for the interim premier by August 12 (Saturday).
Profile of Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar
Senator Anwar ul Haq Kakar, who has been named the new caretaker prime minister of Pakistan, is a political figure from Balochistan.
Kakar was elected to the Senate in 2018 and has been a very active politician. He has also served as the spokesperson of the provincial government prior to his election to the upper house.
“Though he has been involved in politics, Kakar is widely regarded as a great intellectual in the country,” senior anchorperson Hamid Mir told Geo News.
Mir said that the BAP lawmaker belonged to the Kakar tribe of Pashtun ethnicity, so he represents both Pashtuns and Balochs.
“The senator also enjoys good ties with the mainstream political parties including PML-N and PPP.”
In 2008, Kakar contested the National Assembly election from Quetta on the ticket of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid.
He holds a Master’s degree in Political Science, Sociology and is an alumnus of the University of Balochistan.
‘Development indicates polls will not be delayed for a long time’
Meanwhile, in his assessment of the development, anchorperson Shahzeb Khanzada said that both the PML-N and PPP had been saying that a politician could be selected for the coveted post.
Khanzada said that it was apparent from day one that if that politician was a nominee of the politicians then the name would come from the prime minister and if the person is a nominee of the state, the name would come from the leader of the opposition and the same has happened.
“The mutual concern of the politics and state was that there should be the continuity of economic policies, i.e., the investments for which PM Shehbaz Sharif is taking credit”.
Another concern, the analyst mentioned, expressed by the politicians was that what is the guarantee that the caretaker setup will not prolong to an infinite time because of the new census.
“Kakar’s appointment as caretaker PM indicates that the government and Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) have the confidence that the elections will not be delayed for a long time and the political and economic matters will have continuity.”
Since the PDM is interested in ensuring the direction of the country’s politics, this appointment hints at continuity as well, the anchorperson noted.
When asked about criticism due to his political affiliation as BAP was the coalition partner in the Shehbaz Sharif government, Shahzeb Khanzada said Kakar and his party had good ties with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) during its government and he was among the people whom former prime minister Imran Khan consulted on the matters of Balochistan.
“Kakar’s conduct in the coming days would tell how much neutral he is and how much he focuses on his prime task which is to hold elections and continuity of economic policies and shouldn’t give a chance for criticism.”