Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s potential premiership in the caretaker setup was hit with another blow after his party colleague and Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that Dar’s appointment as the interim prime minister will “raise questions on the elections process”.
“… people within the government had said that this will not sail through legally and constitutionally. It will raise a question mark from day one on the election process,” he said in an interview with ABN News on Monday.
For him, if a party office bearer and a close personality to the leadership is given such a position “it will not stand the test of public scrutiny and media. So this has not been discussed at any level”.
Several statements regarding the name of the caretaker prime minister came after reports intensified that Dar’s name has been floated by the PML-N as the leading candidate for the post of caretaker prime minister.
The reports went on to add that partners in the ruling coalition and even the International Monetary Fund have agreed on bringing an economic expert for the top slot.
“The role of the interim government is of an umpire. There will be opportunities to give Dar a position after the elections,” Asif stated.
His comments came after Climate Minister Sherry Rehman denied having reached an agreement with its coalition partners over the name of the caretaker prime minister.
“No name has been shared with the Pakistan Peoples Party,” she told a press conference in Islamabad. “A 3-member committee has been constituted in this regard which will inform [party] leadership regarding the names.”
PM’s aide on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Faisal Karim Kundi, who accompanied Sherry during the press talk, also refuted the reports of PPP receiving the finance czar’s name for the caretaker prime minister.
He said that the party will give its names after discussion in the party meeting.
Earlier, PDM spokesperson and JUI F’s Hafiz Hamdullah was reported to have denied agreeing on the nomination of Dar as the caretaker prime minister.
He said that the PML-N may have decided on the nomination of Dar, however, the ruling coalition has not discussed his name for the interim premier.
Hamdullah went on to add that individuals like Shaukat Aziz, Moeen Qureshi, Raza Baqir and Hafiz Sheikh will not be given the top slot in the interim setup.
The name for the caretaker prime minister will be decided after a discussion between all parties, he said, adding that a unilateral decision will be taken in this regard.
Reports suggest that Dar has the backing of PML-N’s Nawaz Sharif for the caretaker prime minister slot, but there are alternatives if the allied parties in the government do not agree.
The delegations between the different parties in government will meet soon to decide a final name for the post.
The main reason for the circulation of Dar’s name is to ensure continuity in engaging with the International Monetary Fund. Holding office during the caretaker government would allow Dar to keep coordinating with the Fund’s officials.