Tuesday December 05, 2023

Caretaker CM: Consensus between Murad, opposition leader likely 'by midnight'

Two leaders set to meet for third time today to discuss names of proposed candidates to head interim setup in Sindh

August 14, 2023
Sindh Assembly Opposition Leader Rana Ansar (L) and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah in a meeting at CM House, Karachi on August 12. — X/@SindhCMHouse
Sindh Assembly Opposition Leader Rana Ansar (L) and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah in a meeting at CM House, Karachi on August 12. — X/@SindhCMHouse

KARACHI: A decision over a candidate for the post of Sindh caretaker chief minister is likely to come by midnight today (Monday).

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said this morning that a consensus between him and Leader of the Opposition in the dissolved Sindh Assembly Rana Ansar on the matter is expected by 12am.

The two leaders are set to meet for the third time today to discuss the names of the proposed candidates and select one of them to officiate the caretaker setup in the province, which is due since the dissolution of the Sindh Assembly on August 11.

It may be noted that today is the third and last day for the two leaders to hold the consultations on the matter, as the decision has to be made within three days of assembly dissolution, under the law.

Ansar will once again visit the CM House today for the consultation and three names will be proposed from each side.

CM Murad said that there are 12-13 names from both sides which are under consideration.

"All the names are respectable and good. A consensus will be reached by 12am tonight," he said.

The chief minister further stated that the name for the interim CM won't be suggested by a third party and one of the names under consideration will be finalised.

The caretaker chief minister will take over in a day or two, he added.

It is pertinent to mention that the ruling PPP had discussed the names of Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqir and former Sindh chief secretary Mumtaz Ali Shah for the coveted position whereas the opposition had also discussed a few names for the slot which include Dr Safdar Abbasi, Ghulam Murtaza Khan Jatoi, Shoaib Siddiqui and Younus Dagha.

How is interim chief minister appointed?

Once the provincial assembly is dissolved, the government requires a caretaker setup, irrespective of whether or not the governor approves the summary undersigned by the chief minister.

Even if the governor does not approve it, the assembly stands dissolved within 48 hours of signing the summary, as per the Constitution.

For the formation of a caretaker government, the chief minister writes to the leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly within 48 hours of the dissolution of the assembly, seeking three names for the caretaker chief minister and will suggest three names himself.

If an impasse between the two leaders lasts for three days, the Sindh Assembly speaker will form a committee comprising six members of the outgoing assembly with equal representation from the treasury and the opposition.

The CM and the leader of the opposition will forward two nominees each, to the committee, which will have three days to evolve a consensus on one name.

If that too fails, the names of the nominees will be referred to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for a final decision from the provincial election commissioner within two days.

The selected nominee will perform their duties as the interim CM until the formation of a new government in the province. The caretaker chief executive also has the power to induct his own cabinet.

Following the placement of a caretaker chief minister, the ECP is bound to carry out general elections in the province within 90 days.

The electoral body can hold polls within 22 to 45 days, while candidates will be given 29 to 30 days to run the election campaign.

Contrary to the practice in other countries, the Constitution of Pakistan stipulates that a caretaker government will have to be sworn in till a new government is elected by the people.

Article 224 of the Constitution explains the process of appointment of a caretaker government at the centre and provinces.

Until the formation of a caretaker government, Murad will continue his duties as the CM albeit for a few days.

It is only incumbent Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, out of all elected representatives, who will hold his position until the newly-elected lawmakers take an oath and elect his replacement.

If the chief minister and opposition leader fail to agree on a name within three days, the matter would go to the provincial assembly’s parliamentary committee.

However, if the matter remains undecided in the committee as well, the provincial election commission would select the name for the interim chief minister.

Meanwhile Shah will remain in office till the apointment of a caretaker CM.

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