ISLAMABAD - Besides electing its chairman and devising terms of reference, the eight-member parliamentary committee on caretaker prime minister discussed the credentials of Justice (retd) Mir Hazar Khan Khoso and Rasool Bux Palejo, two of the four nominees forwarded to the committee by the prime minister and leader of the opposition.

The bipartisan eight-member parliamentary committee at its maiden meeting at the Parliament House on Wednesday afternoon framed its rules for working, making it mandatory that decision in favour of any of the four names forwarded to the committee by the government and the opposition should require three-fourth strength in the eight-member committee.

The quorum for the committee is fixed at five while for the selection of any of the four nominees the committee should see the general reputation of a candidate, his administrative experience and he should not have any overt political affiliation with any political party.

The committee members further decided that the chairmanship of the committee would rotate between the government and the opposition members of the committee. Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, one of the government team members, was made chairman for the inaugural meeting of the committee.

At the session of Thursday (today), the chairmanship of the committee would be with any of the four PML-N members and most likely Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan Abbasi would assume the charge, being the senior-most member from that side.

Talking to media people, after the committee’s inaugural meeting, its chairman Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour said the names forwarded to the committee by the prime minister and leader of the opposition were final and could not be changed now.

In a brief chat, Syed Khursheed Shah said the slot of the committee chairman would rotate between the treasury and the opposition members and Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour was made its chairman at the inaugural session.

He further said the committee would meet again on Thursday (today) at 11am when some member from the opposition side would chair its meeting. He further said they had devised the terms of reference for the committee to accomplish the task of evolving consensus on any of the nominees, and in case of failure to do so in three days, the matter would be sent to the Election Commission of Pakistan which would pick any of the four names within two days and he would be notified as the caretaker prime minister.

Responding to media persons’ questions, Sardar Mehtab Khan Abbasi said the committee deliberated on what fundamental characteristics should be possessed by the caretaker prime minister.

“He should be impartial, intelligent, have administrative experience, no overt association with any political party and should enjoy a good reputation,” he pointed out. Abbasi hoped the committee would evolve consensus on any one name, but someone from the list could be elected with 6 to 2 majority votes.

The former law minister and one of the team members of the government, Farooq H Naek, said no new nominee could now be included in the list of the government or the opposition nominees and the committee, too, could not bring a new name in the list on its own due to the constitutional bar.

He further said that in case the committee failed to evolve consensus or elect any one of the candidates from the list of the four with three-fourth strength within three days starting from March 20, the matter would be sent to the Election Commission of Pakistan which would again have two days till March 24 to pick any of these four names with majority vote and notify him as caretaker prime minister.

The coalition government is represented by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Khursheed Shah, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour and Farooq H Naek while Parvez Rasheed, Sardar Mehtab Khan Abbasi, Kh Saad Rafique and Sardar Yaqoob Khan are representing the opposition in the committee.