Prime Minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Opposition Leader of the National Assembly (NA) Syed Khursheed Shah are yet to reach a consensus on the announcement of the caretaker PM despite the announcement that a name would be declared on Tuesday. Two parties which do not oppose the names proposed and agree that competent names have been suggested, should not have difficulty picking the one most suitable for the role. It is clear from the statements given by both parties that while there is no disagreement, there is no consensus on one name because both sides are not pushing for names that they think should qualify. This means that the matter will undoubtedly move to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The irony is that the ECP will go through the same tedious process all over again. Two names will be suggested by both parties involved and that does nothing but extend the matter further. Those in government should be able to pick out someone who is qualified and has the right amount of expertise and knowledge to be the interim PM. A matter like this does not require an extension or the intervention of a neutral bipartisan parliamentary committee to be resolved, especially if there is no conflict per say.

This delay can be ascribed to only two causes. The first is that parties do not want to take the responsibility of whoever is selected and deflect responsibility to avoid whatever political chaos uproots in the coming days. This would give them the leverage of again playing the victim card during the last days of the setup and will add up to the sympathy vote. The second is that this delay will further delay the setup of the caretaker government which will be responsible for the upcoming elections, in cooperation with the ECP.

The interim PM is expected to carry out same policies that were being pushed by the previous government. This also includes a coherant stance on national security and foreign affairs keeping in mind the opinion of the military leadership in balance. While the selection is tasking, it is definitely not something seasoned lawmakers cannot decide. Passing off the responsibility to ECP is only a step which will further complicate a matter, which is inherently not complicated.