ISLAMABAD – The government-opposition impasse on caretaker Prime Minister still persists and so far all the backdoor efforts to bring both the sides on the same page have failed.
Sources in the Pakistan People’s Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz are not much optimistic about the breaking of ice between the stakeholders and the matter seems to be heading to the third stage where the Chief Election Commissioner along with his four members would name a caretaker.
Sources in political parties say that now all eyes are set on PML-N President Mian Nawaz Sharif, who is returning back from London today (Monday). It is expected that some doves from the PPP would approach him with fresh prepositions to resolve the issue of caretaker Prime Minister at the first stage — between the Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly.
PML-N President Mian Nawaz Sharif has already summoned a meeting of party leaders in Lahore on Monday and would review the overall political situation in the country, party’s preparedness for the upcoming elections with special focus on the issue of caretaker set-up and the party’s future strategy on it.
Leader of the Opposition, Ch Nisar Ali Khan would give briefing to the party chief on the developments on this front and then in the light of the discussion the future course of action on the matter would be finalised.
Sources said that if some middle course could not be found, then the PML-N leadership would also finalise their names for the eight-member Parliamentary Committee to be constituted by the NA speaker on the advice of the PM and the Opposition Leader.
The PPP and its coalition partners have already given four names, two each from the Senate and the National Assembly, to be the part of the eight-member committee. They are: Syed Khursheed Shah, Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, Ch Shujaat Hussain and Farooq H Naek.
Sources in the PML-N said there is very strong likelihood that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz would give all the four names from their party and would not even oblige the JUI-F which is also part of the opposition in both the Houses of the Parliament.
Political analysts said that the dropping out of JUI-F from the Parliamentary Committee to discuss the caretaker PM’s issue would further annoy and alienate the JUI-F, which is already disturbed over the dropping out of Justice (retd) Shakirullah Jan, their nominee, from the list of three sent to Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.
Political and constitutional experts are of the view that in case the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition would fail to break the stalemate on caretaker Prime Minister, then the eight-member committee would also fail to do so because of equal strength of government and opposition in it. And finally the matter would go to the Election Commission of Pakistan where the Chief Election Commissioner along with his four members would pick any of the four names proposed to the committee by the treasury and opposition.
Sources aware of the backchannel developments informed The Nation that some new names and some old ones which were dropped out for one pretext or the other resurfaced including that of PkMP President Mahmood Khan Achakzai and Ms Asma Jehangir and a few new faces including ANP leader Afrasiyab Khattak and Shams Qasim Lakkha (floated by the PPP side).