Pakistani senator Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar was named as caretaker Prime Minister to govern the cash-strapped country and oversee general elections later this year, the Prime Minister's Office said on Saturday. Kakar, a lawmaker belonging to the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), will lead a caretaker government until a new election later this year.
The name was finalised after two rounds of deliberations between outgoing Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and opposition leader Raja Riaz. Following this, President Arif Alvi approved the appointment under Article 224 A of the Constitution.
PM Sharif recommended dissolution of National Assembly on Aug 9
Prime Minister Sharif recommended the dissolution of the National Assembly on August 9, three days before the mandated term, therefore, according to the Constitution, the next general elections will be held in 90 days.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Riaz said, "We decided that the interim prime minister would be from a smaller province". He said that the main objective was to appoint a caretaker prime minister hailing from a less populous province and possessing a non-controversial character. This decision was also driven by the intention to address the feeling of neglect experienced by smaller provinces. Riaz said that Kakar's name was suggested by him which was approved, reported Geo News.
Who is Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar?
Senator Anwar ul Haq Kakar, who has been designated as the newly appointed interim Prime Minister of Pakistan, is a notable political figure from Balochistan. Kakar was elected to the Senate in 2018 as an independent candidate from Balochistan. Since then he has been a very active politician. He has also served as the spokesperson of the provincial government prior to his election to the upper house.
In 2008, Kakar contested the National Assembly election from Quetta on the ticket of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid. He notably chaired the Senate Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development. Additionally, he held membership in several important committees including the Business Advisory Committee, Finance and Revenue, Foreign Affairs, and Science and Technology.
He holds a Master's degree in Political Science, Sociology and is an alumnus of the University of Balochistan.
Need of a caretaker government
A caretaker government, by Pakistani law, is tasked to oversee day-to-day matters important to the government but is not allowed to make major policy decisions except for urgent matters. A caretaker government is also supposed to restrict itself to routine, non-controversial, and reversible matters.
A caretaker Prime Minister is expected to be an impartial person towards any person or political party. However, in some cases, it has been found that caretaker governments have overstepped their boundaries, such as in 2013, where all appointments, transfers, and holdings by the interim authority were revoked by the Supreme Court.
Pakistan general elections
Notably, the Pakistan National Assembly has 342 seats-- 272 of which are directly elected, 60 are reserved for women, and ten for religious minorities. According to the country's constitution, at least 70 seats reserved for women and religious minorities are allocated to the political parties as per their proportional representation.
Sharif’s ruling Pakistan Muslim League party (PML-N) is expected to face tough competition from Khan’s party-- though Khan himself would be unable to take part unless his conviction is overturned. Under Pakistan’s laws, no one with a criminal conviction can lead a party, run in elections, or hold public office.