Govt, Opposition gridlock on interim Premier persists

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Abbasi, Shah meeting remains inconclusive

Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad

Another round of talks between Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Leader of Opposition in National Assembly on Tuesday remained inconclusive to reach a consensus on the caretaker prime minister.
Both the leaders are expected to meet today (Wednesday) or Thursday to discuss and finalize the name of the caretaker PM.
The opposition leader while talking to the media it would be good for the Parliament if this matter can be agreed upon in next meeting.
“If not, then a committee will be constituted, to which the names will be sent within three days and the majority decision will be implemented. ”Shah said.
He added that he has put forward names of senior bureaucrats for consideration for the post of caretaker PM.
According to sources, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is not in favour of appointing a retired justice or bureaucrat as the caretaker premier, and hence PM Abbasi asked for more time on the matter.
The government is believed to have suggested names of former chief justice of Pakistan Justice (retd) Nasir-ul-Mulk, Justice (retd) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani – also a former chief justice – and former State Bank governor Dr Shamshad Akhtar.
Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations Dr Maleeha Lodhi, who was earlier touted as among the favourites for the post, is missing from the list, sources said.
The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has finalised the names of Zaka Ashraf and Jalil Abbas Jilani for the caretaker prime minister. Khursheed Shah had forwarded these names to PM Abbasi and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari had telephoned Ashraf and Jilani informing them of the party’s decision.
Former Pakistan Ambassador to the United Nations Abdullah Hussain Haroon and former State Bank governor Dr Ishrat Hussain are also being speculated for the post.
The current government is expected to conclude its five-year term on May 31, after which the caretaker government will take over to hold the general elections, which are expected to be held in the last week of July or the first week of August.

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