ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah yesterday failed to evolve consensus on any name for the caretaker prime minister and things seemed to be heading to next stage for breaking the impasse.

It was the fifth meeting between them over the past few weeks, but they failed to land on the same page, so the matter of caretaker prime minister’s appointment is still hanging in the balance.

Although sounding optimistic about the consensus caretaker prime minister after his meeting with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah has shifted the responsibility of finalising the name on the PM, saying: “I have had thorough deliberations with the prime minister on the matter and now he is supposed to take the final decision.”

Insiders in the government revealed the ruling PML-N was not ready to pick any of the two names given by the Pakistan People’s Party and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi tried to convince Syed Khurshid Shah to pick any of the three names floated by the government.

Leader of Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah insisted on selection of caretaker prime minister from the list given by the opposition, but Prime Minister Abbasi was not prepared to accept it.

Sources said that they would make another attempt and meet again in a day or so with some more names also to be put on the negotiation table to evolve consensus, but chances of being on the same page are diminishing as both the sides are not showing flexibility.

The sources said that it was due to the grim chances of consensus that Leader of Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah has put the ball in Prime Minister ShAHID Khaqan Abbasi’s court, saying that he would have to take the final decision now as he had discussed the issue with him thoroughly.

Initially, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, at a meeting with the leader of the opposition, had said that the government would not give any names for the caretaker prime minister and select the candidate from the list of the candidates given by the opposition. But at the last meeting the prime minister also put a list of three candidates before the leader of the opposition for consideration. However, after thorough deliberation on all the names, consensus could not be evolved on any of the names, admitted Leader of Opposition Syed Khurshid Shah in a media chat after the meeting.

Earlier, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz finalised the names of Justice (r) Nasir-ul-Mulk, Justice(r) Tassaduq Hussain Jilani and Dr Ishrat Hussain for caretaker prime minister while Pakistan People’s Party suggested the names of Zaka Ashraf and Jalil Abbas Jilani.

Although Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf did not join formal consultation with the leader of the opposition, they have given the list of three candidates to media, which included Dr Ishrat Hussain, Tassaduq Hussain Jilani and Abdur Razzaq Dawood, while Jamaat-e-Islami has finalised the name of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan for the caretaker PM.

PTI has categorically rejected the names finalised by the PPP. PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry said that the PPP had proposed two names (Zaka Ashraf and Jalil Abbas) for the caretaker premier) which were not acceptable to his party.