ISLAMABAD  -  The Election Commission on Monday recommended holding upcoming general polls between July 25 and July 27, while political parties are yet to evolve a consensus on the caretaker prime minister – though the name of Justice(r) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani is being supported by all sides.

In a summary forwarded to President Mamnoon Hussain, the ECP has outlined details for fixing date for the 2018 general elections. It has requested the president to settle a date between the three days from July 25 to July 27 under Section 57(1) of the Elections Action Act 2017.

The tenure of the current government will expire on May 31. The process to select a caretaker set-up is underway with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi holding talks with Leader of Opposition Khurshid Shah.

In Friday’s meeting between Abbasi and Shah, the Pakistan Peoples Party put forth the names of two candidates for the caretaker prime minister slot – former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf and former foreign secretary Jalil Abbas Jillani were recommended by the opposition party.

Another round of talks in this regard is scheduled to be held today as the Friday’s talks remained inconclusive and the PM left for Turkey.

The task has become a bit difficult as new names from both sides are placed on the negotiation table.

Complicating the situation further, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on Monday categorically rejected the two PPP nominees.

The party has suggested the names of former Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice (r) Tassaduq Hussain Jilani, former State Bank governor Ishrat Hussain and businessman Abdur Razzaq Daud.

Although PTI’s rejection of PPP nominees has no legal and constitutional value, it would definitely have political implications.

Ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz which had earlier said that the government would not give any names for caretaker prime minister and would choose from the list of candidates floated by the Leader of Opposition but now the PML-N has also floated the names of Justice(r) Nasirul Mulk, Justice(r) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani and Dr Ishrat Hussain.


In their last meeting both Abbasi and Shah had once again resolved to evolve consensus saying they would not let the matter pass on to Election Commission.

Legal and constitutional experts said that the PM and Leader of Opposition could continue with their consultation till the culmination of the incumbent National Assembly’s term.

But sources in the ruling PML-N informed that most likely the matter would be resolved in today’s meeting or they could have another session next day or so.

As per constitution in case the Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition will fail to evolve consensus on any name for caretaker prime minister then the matter would be referred to eight-member Parliamentary Committee to be constituted by National Assembly speaker with four members each from government and opposition and with equal representation from both the houses of the Parliament which would decide it with consensus within three days from two names each referred to it.

In case the committee too fails to evolve consensus then the same four names would be referred to Election Commission and the commission would decide on it within two days time.

Sources in PPP informed that the names of Zaka Ashraf and Jalil Abbas Jillani were finalised by party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his father Asif Ali Zardari and they have taken into loop both these persons before floating their names for the slot.

A source in the ruling PML-N informed that though the party has also come up with the list of their choice for the slot of caretaker PM, the names which are already under discussion were still on the table.

Interestingly the name of Justice(r) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani was carried by the list of probable candidates for the slot of caretaker prime minister floated by ruling PML-N, PTI and PPP.

Though the PPP leadership come up with fresh two names for the slot, Justice Jillani was on their priority list.

Parliamentary sources said that both the Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition could agree on his name as he was acceptable to almost all the parliamentary parties.




PTI press talk

PTI Secretary Information Fawad Chaudhry while addressing a news conference said that PTI leadership has unanimously rejected Zaka, a close aide to PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari, and Jilani, who has also Pakistan’s ex-envoy to the US.

“The names of Zaka Ashraf and Jalil Abbas Jilani have been suggested by PPP which are not acceptable to PTI”, he said, adding Zaka, being a main “donor” of Asif Zardari, is not suitable for the premiership.

He further said that Jilani is a seasoned bureaucrat but the names proposed by PTI were surely more suitable in ensuring transparency in the upcoming general elections.

He said that PTI had suggested the names of Justice (r) Tassaduq Hussain Jilani, former governor of State Bank of Pakistan Ishrat Hussain and businessman Abdur Razzaq Daud. “These names should be considered to ensure fair electoral process,” he urged.

Moreover, he lambasted deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif for his statement in the accountability court on Monday. “Nawaz Sharif was given a questionnaire of 128 questions out of which he vaguely answered 55 questions”, Fawad Chaudhary said. He added that Nawaz Sharif kept the tradition of speaking lies alive. He alleged that Nawaz Sharif’s answers were nothing but a pack of lies. “Sharif family has miserably failed to prove the sources of their massive wealth and kept on misleading the nation and relevant institutions for their financial wrongdoings”, he said.

Fawad Chaudhry said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had told the Parliament that Gulf Sell Mills was his main source of income to buy properties abroad. “Now former PM is being questioned about the source of investment of Gulf Steel Mills and he is expressing his ignorance,” he said. At one time, the former PM had said that his cousin Tariq Shafi should be questioned about the ownership of the Gulf Steel Mills and later Shafi claimed that mills did not belong to him.

Fawad Chaudhry went on to say that the former PM earlier had claimed that he did not own Avenfield properties rather this should be inquired from his sons Hassan Nawaz and Hussian Nawaz. Now Nawaz Sharif has told the accountability court that his sons could not be questioned in this regard as they are British citizens, he added.

He categorically refuted the reports of making alliance with the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q) and any other party stating that PTI will contest forthcoming elections as the “single largest and most popular party” and would not make any alliance with any party.


Furthermore, he also commented on the UNDP report stating that PML-N, the ruling party, had tried to cast an impression that PTI-led KP government failed to deliver by bringing forth an old report. “The report was of the period between 2005 to 2015,” he said and further added that PML-N was shamelessly comparing two years of PTI with ten years of PML-N-led government in Punjab. We all should wait for the UNDP’s latest report which will divulge the performance of all the provincial governments, he added.




Fida Hussnain ads from Lahore

The relevant quarters have been examining the suitability of the candidates for the office of care taker prime minister, the sources told The Nation here on Monday.

The background of the candidates being nominated for the caretaker prime minister office, their role, relations with foreign powers and also their religious inclination are being examined by the stake holders concerned.

According to the sources, the political parties have presented three names to the opposition leader and an important meeting between the Opposition leader and the Prime Minister is likely to be held today for final name for the office.

An important meeting was held in Islamabad where the suitability of recently floated three names was examined. The first name is from Sindh, the second is from Lahore, Punjab and third one is also from Punjab.

“The name” which belongs to Sindh, though, has been endorsed by the PPP and the PML-N but his relations with the international stake holders and his political and social background may deter his nomination. His anti-establishment stance is important factor in this regard.

Similarly, the second name from Punjab has been endorsed by the PPP but the ruling PML-N has reservations about him but the PTI has rejected his name for being active member of the PPP while the third one so far has not been taken up to the stage of examination but it has possible support from various parties.  Other reasons have also surfaced about the second name is that several inquires have been pending against him and the court cases are big hurdle in his way.

As the tenure of the government is coming to its legitimate end the political parties are floating names for the caretaker setup.

A number of names have surfaced so far the caretaker prime minister during a couple of weeks.  Those names include former Chief Justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, Ishtaiaq A Khan, Abdullah Haroon, Zaka Ashraf, Jaleel Abbasi Jillani, Maleeha Lodhi, Abdul Razzaq Dawood, Shamshad Akhtar and others.

Zaka Ashraf served as PCB Chairman during the PPP government and is known industrialist and businessman.  Abdullah Haroon belongs to notable political family and he served as ambassador to the UN who started his career as Election Coordinator for Pakistan Muslim League in 1970 and held important public offices.  Jalil Abbas Jellani served as ambassador to the US and he also served as foreign secretary of Pakistan.  Justice (r) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani was the former Chief Justice of Pakistan.  Ishtiaq A Khan served as Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan while Maleeha Lodhi is a Pakistani diplomat, military strategist, academician and political scientist who serves as Pakistan’s Representative to the United Nations, the first woman to hold the position. Many names have surfaced for the cabinet members including Taimur Azmat Osman, Saadia Khan , Sultan Ali Allana , Sardar Tanveer, Ameena Zafar Cheema and Engr Kamal Nasir. Taimur Azmat Osman, the ex-federal secretary establishment and Information & Broadcasting , Sultan Ali Allan is Chairman HBL and Director  Agha Khan Fund for Economic Development , Sardar Tanveer Ilyas Khan ( President , Pak- Gulf), Saadia Khan (worked with institutions such as State Bank of Pakistan, United Nations and Asian Development Bank and Engr Kamal Nasir has been chairman of Constructors Association of Pakistan (CAP).




Caretaker PM yet to be finalised as ECP proposes poll dates