Raja Riaz, the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, spoke out against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s speculated but now withdrawn bid for caretaker prime minister, and minimized the necessity for immediate elections in the country.
The National Assembly’s term is slated to expire on August 12, and discussions are underway among government members on the outlines of an interim setup.
If the administration is dissolved before the National Assembly’s mandate ends on August 12, elections will take place within 90 days. If the assembly’s term ends, the Election Commission of Pakistan is required to hold elections within the next 60 days.
Dar was mentioned as a probable candidate for caretaker prime minister earlier this week. However, the PML-N appeared to be backtracking on the notion a day ago, perhaps in response to its unequivocal rejection by both its ally PPP and the opposition PTI.
In a statement today, Riaz, the NA’s de jure opposition leader, also opposed the concept of Dar leading the caretaker government.
“The elections will not be held for two years if Ishaq Dar becomes interim prime minister,” claimed Riaz, who is a member of parliament on the PTI ticket despite severing relations with the party and openly admitting that he will run in the next elections on the PML-N ticket.
No one, Riaz claimed, would recognise the legitimacy of the general elections if they were held with Dar as caretaker premier, adding that Defence Minister Khawaja Asif had also taken a “clear stance” on the subject.
“The PML-N should reveal a name or make it public.” It is not necessary for me to consult on it. As the opposition leader, I am required to state my three names. “I will meet with the prime minister on the caretaker government issue by August 1,” he stated.
Riaz stated that he will shortly begin the consultation process for the nominee for caretaker prime minister and that he had meetings arranged with other opposition leaders on the subject on Wednesday or Thursday.
Riaz also dismissed the need for elections within the existing assembly’s constitutional period following its early dissolution or tenure expiration.
“Elections are not necessary for the country,” he remarked, adding that it made little difference if no general elections were held for a decade.
“The country’s and people’s problems are more important.” “The solution to the challenges we face now is critical,” the opposition leader emphasised.
After being nominated by NA Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf, Riaz was chosen as the opposition leader in May 2022.
He was among a handful of PTI dissidents who chose to remain in the National Assembly despite the fact that other party MNAs had resigned at the request of the party chairman.