Abbasi likely to invite political parties over caretaker PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is expected to convene a meeting of parliamentary political parties including the opposition forces to discuss the caretaker PM.
The caretaker PM is constitutionally appointed following the consensus between leader of the house in National Assembly (prime minister) and leader of the opposition in NA. According to media, the ruling party is willing to take other political forces onboard including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in particular to finalise a candidate for caretaker premiership.
Informal discussions with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leaders suggest that the party’s leadership has decided to engage political parties and seek their respective nominations for the caretaker premier as part of political bargain.
According to media, the PML-N has focused its efforts to negotiate with the ruling parties in those provinces where it wants to get its nominations considered for chief minister.
Similarly, the leader of the house and leader of the opposition choose caretaker CMs in the respective provinces. “There is mixed arrangement at the provinces…we need to accommodate parliamentary forces at the centre in order to be accommodated in the provinces,” a well-placed source in PML-N said.
He said that the discussions on caretaker arrangements in the provinces have not yet taken place adding that the initial focus on discussions between the government and opposition would be a caretaker PM with selection of caretaker CMs to follow suit.
The formal process for choosing caretaker PM started following a meeting between PM Abbasi and Opposition Leader Khurshid Shah in which the names of potential candidates were reportedly discussed.
The names of former chief justices of Pakistan including Nasirul Mulk, Anwar Zaheer Jamali, Jawad S Khawaja and Mian Shakirullah Jan were discussed during Abbasi-Shah meeting, sources privy to the matter said.
Apart from these names, the two sides also discussed other names including that of former governors of State Bank Dr Shamshad Akhtar and Dr Ishrat Hussain, former caretaker PM Justice Mir Hazar Khan Khoso and ex-Supreme Court judge Justice (r) Nasir Aslam Zahid, according to media.  Khoso also remained the caretaker PM in 2013.
A close friend in PML-N who enjoys close association with PM Abbasi said that the premier stressed upon reaching consensus during his meeting with Shah on choosing a candidate as caretaker PM and added that the political parties should not leave space for ‘other institutions’ to intervene.
In case the leader of the house and leader of the opposition in NA fail to agree on caretaker PM, the matter would constitutionally land before speaker NA who would form an eight-member parliamentary committee comprising MNAs and Senators from ruling and opposition parties to pick a candidate as the caretaker PM.
The Election Commission of Pakistan would appoint a candidate as caretaker PM the way it did in 2013 when the ECP appointed Mir Hazar Khan Khoso after government and opposition failed to agree on a candidate.
According to media, no candidates have been shortlisted for caretaker premier yet since the PM wants the inclusion of other political parties in the process and get their respective inputs.