The meeting of the ruling alliance on the caretaker prime minister concluded on Friday, with PM Shehbaz Sharif being given the authority to pick a candidate for the key position.
The Pakistan Democratic Movement and coalition partners have given the final authority to pick the interim premier to PM Shehbaz, sources told Aaj News.
PM Shehbaz, who presided over the meeting, would nominate the person for the interim PM whom he deems worthy, sources added. Some of the leaders joined the meeting via video link.
Allies agree on timely elections: sources
A few hours after the meeting, sources claimed that the allied parties had ageed that the elections should be held on time. They also agreed on August 9 as the date for the dissolution of the assembly.
However, the participants also agreed that the CCI’s decision on census will be followed.
The name od Justice Shakeel Baloch’s name from Balochistan was proposed. The name of former Sindh Governor Ishrat ul Ebad was also discussed.
However, the MQM asked for more time to propose a name for the spot. Mohsin Dawar also proposed two names.
PM Shehbaz said that he was available for suggestions to be sent by Friday night.
On Thursday, the premier decided that a summary for the dissolution of the National Assembly would be “moved on August 9”. The date was put forward in a reception given to members of Parliament where he was asked about the assembly’s dissolution.
In such a case, the Constitution states the time for holding elections.
Article 224 titled ‘Time of election and by-election’ states that “a general election to the National Assembly or a Provincial Assembly shall be held within a period of sixty days immediately following the day on which the day on which the term of the Assembly is due to expire, unless the Assembly has been sooner dissolved, and the results of the election shall be declared not later than fourteen days before that day.”
And Article 224(2) provides: “When the National Assembly or a Provincial Assembly is dissolved, a general election to the Assembly shall be held within a period of ninety days after the dissolution, and the results of the election shall be declared not later than fourteen days after the conclusion of the polls.”
Perception related to extension in the interim government’s tenure got traction when reports said that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was the first choice for the interim prime minister slot.
Last month, Parliament passed an amendment to Election Act 2017 granting additional power to the caretaker government. The amended law allows the caretaker government to open negotiations on existing financial arrangements but it cannot enter into new bilateral or multilateral agreements.
The bill effectively enables the caretaker government to discuss the next review with the International Monetary Fund for the release of the second loan tranche under the $3 billion standby arrangement.
CCI meeting summoned on Saturday
The Council of Common Interests meeting has been summoned on Saturday (tomorrow) where results of digital census would be presented. PM Shehbaz will preside over the meeting.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif told Aaj News on August 1 that elections would be held based on the latest census, raising allies concerns who have been demanding timely elections.
“We have to hold the elections on the basis of the new census … When a census has been conducted, the [polls] should be held on its basis unless there is an obstacle that cannot be overcome. But I don’t see [any such hurdle],” he said in an interview with Aaj News show Faisla Aap Ka.
The premier said the census results would be referred to the CCI as soon as they were finalised.
But the power minister was hopeful that the elections would be held in November.
“As of now, July 24, hopefully, it is fully hoped that may God help us. Elections will be held on November 10 or before it, inshallah in the whole country and all four provinces,” Khurram Dastgir told Aaj News on July 24.
He rejected the perception of an extension in caretaker government tenure to complete the loan programme and seek investments from Gulf countries.