Meeting between Abbasi and Shah to finalise the name of caretaker Pakistan PM

Vastavam web:  Leader of the Opposition Khursheed Shah to finalise the name of the caretaker premier ended inconclusively today as they failed to agree on a candidate for the post, according to media reports. The current government led by Abbasi’s Pakistan Muslim League, Nawaz (PML-N) is set to end its five-year term on May 31. The general election is expected to be held in the last week of July.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) yesterday forwarded a report to President Mamnoon Hussain, suggesting that he could choose either July 25 or July 27 as the day of the polls. Another meeting will be held with Prime Minister Abbasi tomorrow or on Thursday after to finalise the caretaker premier, Shah, who is from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) told the media after the meeting, which took place at the PM House.

Shah said no consensus could be reached during the meeting. “The prime minister said that the names forwarded by our side are good, but so are the names forwarded by their side,” Shah said. “The government has not insisted upon any name as yet,” Shah was quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper. If the committee also fails to come to a decision, the matter will be referred to the ECP, which will then have the prerogative to choose any one of the six nominated candidates.

The PML-N and the PPP had reached an understanding to delay announcing the names of the caretaker set-up probables and keep their discussions under wraps as long as possible to avoid unnecessary debate in the media. The PPP and the PML-N have repeatedly expressed the desire that they want to announce the name of the caretaker prime minister with consensus and do not want to see the matter getting referred to the ECP. Although the government and opposition remain tight-lipped about the matter, names of Maleeha Lodhi, Tassaduq Hussain Jillani and Dr Ishrat Hussain have been doing the rounds as candidates expected to be elevated to the slot of the caretaker Prime Minister, the Express Tribune reported.

Shah has hinted at getting elevated a ‘female PM’, giving rise to speculation that the name of Lodhi, Pakistan’s top diplomat at the United Nations, may have been agreed upon. Another female candidate whose name is under consideration is that of former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan Shamshad Akhtar, the report said.