Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has begun consultations with his supporters for a caretaker setup a day after hinting at conducting the next general elections in November this year.
On Monday, PM Sharif met with Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) chairman and Minister for Narcotics Control Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti in one such meeting.
Earlier that day, in Lahore, the prime minister met with Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) head Asif Ali Zardari. While certain bigwigs’ names are floating on social media as potential contenders for the position of caretaker prime minister, nothing formal has been announced in this regard thus far.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the prime minister and Mr. Bugti spoke extensively on the country’s present political circumstances as well as matters pertaining to the relevant ministry.
“[The] PM has started consultations with coalition partners on appointing an interim setup,” Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira stated on Monday.
He stated that after consultations with coalition partners, the prime minister would consult with the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Raja Riaz, a PTI dissident.
Mr Kaira told that a politician should be appointed as the country’s caretaker prime minister rather than anyone else.
PM Shehbaz stated a few days ago that the government would give over the reins to interim rulers next month before the end of the assembly’s session, giving caretakers three months to hold elections in the country.
“No general, bureaucrat, technocrat, journalist, or corporate sector employee should be considered for the post of caretaker prime minister,” Mr Kaira continued.
“Can I be appointed to any Supreme Court judgeship that becomes vacant?” he asked.
The PM is likely to meet with the leaders of the other parties in the ruling coalition in the coming days.
If the government is dissolved before August 12 (the expiration date of the National Assembly), elections will be held within 90 days; if the assembly completes its term, the ECP must hold elections within 60 days.
Sri Lankan president
Later, PM Sharif spoke via phone with Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, and both leaders agreed to continue long-standing collaboration in mutual interests, further strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries.
According to the PM Office’s media wing, the prime minister stressed the need of working together to combat poverty and promote economic growth and development for the benefit of the entire area.
He also voiced a desire for regional collaboration to achieve peace and connectivity.
Separately, the prime minister stated on his Twitter account that bilateral ties between Pakistan and Sri Lanka are supported by reservoirs of goodwill and good neighborliness between the two countries.
“Earlier today, I had the pleasure of speaking with H.E. Ranil Wickremesinghe, President of Sri Lanka, to thank him for his support to Pakistan during my meeting with MD IMF,” he said.
The prime minister went on to say that Pakistan and Sri Lanka have been strong allies and friends for decades, sticking by each other through thick and thin. Later, PM Shehbaz met with retired Lt-Gen Sajjad Ghani, Chairman of the Water and Power Development Authority, to discuss the authority’s overall programmes as well as the demand and supply of energy in the country, particularly during the current summer.