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Thursday May 23, 2024

Background of frontrunners for caretaker PM

By Farooq Aqdas
August 07, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The formation of a caretaker government is just a few days away and now the decision of the caretaker prime minister can also come out in a day or two. Ishaq Dar and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi were considered but now once again the names of a former judge and former finance minister Hafeez Sheikh are coming up.

It is to be remembered that Hafeez Sheikh came to Pakistan from abroad on the invitation of the government and has been quietly staying in Islamabad for several months. Now it is to be seen whose name will be drawn or there will be a surprise to the nation. According to the Constitution, the position of caretaker prime minister in the country has limited and fixed powers in which the first responsibility is to hold impartial and fair elections in the country. It has to do and run the day-to-day affairs; it does not get the same powers as the elected government to make important decisions and policy.

Therefore, there is no extraordinary attraction for any politician or any other important sector person to get this position. However, this is the first time that innumerable personalities from different sectors from across the country are showing extraordinary interest in getting the position of caretaker prime minister. Rather, there are reports of using resources and relationships to take the position. The reason is clear that there are speculations that the general elections in the country will not be held within the specified period. It is among reasons why no decision has been taken on the caretaker prime minister’s name yet.

The initial reason for this was the Act to increase the powers of caretaker governments and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s decision to dissolve the assemblies prematurely on August 9. According to speculations, the period of the caretaker government may span several years and the new caretaker government will perform government affairs for six months, nine months to two years. It is obvious that even if the “caretaker government” comes for such a long period, its powers will also have to be increased, so it can take decisions. Then the establishment of caretaker governments in Punjab and KP for an indefinite period, their powers to make important decisions and construction and development work to a large extent, although it was not their mandate, but they are doing it “well” and it does not seem that the governments working in both provinces, especially in Punjab, are caretaker setups.

This situation motivates and inspires the aspirants for the caretaker prime minister and the cabinet and for this purpose, the desire and demand of second-tier leaders and local leaders in the two major parties in power, Pakistan Muslim League (N) and Pakistan Peoples Party, is very natural that those who have been included in the 80-member cabinet in the 15-month government as federal and provincial ministers, advisers and special assistants should now be given rest and they should be given a chance in the caretaker government.

The leaders of both the major parties may be able to satisfy the senior officials with their decisions in this situation, but the real problem will be faced by the 14 parties of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), which have a larger number of aspirants and “victims”. However, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and its chairman do not face such a situation.

Chief Martial Law Administrator Zia-ul-Haq made the first caretaker Prime Minister, Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, in 1990, using Article 58 of the Special Powers of the President for the first time. Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi headed the caretaker government from August 6, 1990 to November 6, 1990 and under his supervision the 5th general elections of Pakistan were held in 1990.

After the election, Nawaz Sharif became the Prime Minister of Pakistan. After that, Mir Balkh Sher Mazari was the second caretaker Prime Minister of the country from 18 April 1993 to 26 May 1993. The third caretaker Prime Minister of the country was Moin Qureshi who served from 18 July 1993 to 19 October 1993. The sixth general elections of Pakistan were held in 1993 under his supervision. After which Benazir Bhutto was elected as the Prime Minister of Pakistan for the second time. Malik Meraj Khalid was the fourth caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan and he served from November 5, 1996 to February 17, 1997. Under his leadership, the 7th general elections of the country were held in 1997 and Nawaz Sharif became the Prime Minister for the second time. After that, in 1999, General Pervez Musharraf assumed power and after the end of the government in 2007, Mohammad Mian Soomro was given the post of caretaker Prime Minister.

Under his supervision, the 9th general elections of the country were held in 2008 and Yusuf Raza Gilani of the PPP was elected the Prime Minister of the country. The sixth caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan, Justice Retired Mir Hazar Khan Khoso, worked from March 25, 2013 to June 5, 2013. The 10th general elections of Pakistan were held in 2013 under his supervision. As a result, Mian Nawaz Sharif was elected as the Prime Minister of the country for the third time. The last caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan was Justice (Retired) Nasir Mulk, who became the 7th caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Under his supervision, the 11th general elections were held in the country on July 25, 2018, and Imran Khan became the Prime Minister for the first time.