ISLAMABAD - In the face of soaring tensions between the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and main opposition Pakistan People’s Party, the chances of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Leader of Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah landing on the same page on the issue of caretaker prime minister’s appointment seem minimal.

Veteran parliamentarians as well as the leaders of both these parties are also sceptical on having consensus caretaker prime minister this time too, keeping in view the growing tension between the PML-N and the PPP.

After the passage of 18th Constitutional Amendment on culmination of the National Assembly’s term, the prime minister and leader of the opposition in the lower house of the Parliament are required under the constitution to finalise the name of the caretaker prime minister with consensus in three days time.

Previously before the 2013 general elections, former Leader of Opposition Ch. Nisar Ali Khan and then Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf had failed to evolve a consensus on any candidate to be appointed as caretaker prime minister and the matter was referred to eight-member Parliamentary committee with equal representation from treasury and opposition benches, but the committee too failed to agree on any name forwarded to it by the prime minister and the leader of opposition. Finally the matter landed in Election Commission of Pakistan and the name of Sardar Hazar Khan Khoso was finalised from within the given names to the committee.

Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah in a media chat on Monday said that so far he had not received any names from other opposition parties and hinted at contacting Prime Minister Abbasi next day and would initiate the process of picking the caretaker prime minister.

Sources in the Parliament said that in the wake of rising tensions between PPP and the PML-N where Prime Minister Abbasi was raising objection on the PPP backed Senate chairman and blaming PPP leadership for trading money in recently-held upper house elections how he could sit across Syed Khursheed Shah and evolve consensus on the caretaker prime minister.

A senior parliamentarian who was also part of the National Assembly in 2013 said that the tension between the ruling PML-N and PPP was far bad now and even in relatively congenial atmosphere in 2013 both the parties had failed to evolve consensus and finally the matter of caretaker prime minister had to be decided by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

Sources in the ruling PML-N informed that the party would hardly give any laxity to opposition in the selection of caretaker prime minister and would let the matter go to Election Commission if the opposition parties would insist to push their candidate for the slot.

On the other hand, PPP leadership and the statements were quite hostile toward the ruling PML-N and as the party chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and former president Asif Ali Zardari were saying that they would no more give any concession to Nawaz Sharif and his party so the chances of any flexibility on part of PPP in the selection of caretaker prime minister seemed unlikely.

Under Article 244-A of the constitution dealing with the matter of caretaker setup, in case the issue is not resolved at prime minister and leader of opposition level, it will be referred to the eight-member committee with equal representation from treasury and opposition benches. If the committee also fails to evolve consensus, the matter will automatically be referred to Election Commission of Pakistan which will make a final decision on it.