LAHORE - If Dr Tahirul Qadri’s opinion in the selection of a caretaker prime minister has to be given importance, as agreed upon between him and the leaders of all four ruling coalition partners before the end of the four-day long sit-in in Islamabad on January 17, the PML-N and other opposition parties will have to join heads once again as none of the half a dozen names proposed by them for the coveted office is acceptable to the chairman of the Tehrik Minhajul Quran.

Dr Qadri will explain his point of view at a meeting with the leaders of the ruling coalition at the TMQ headquarters here on Sunday (today).

This will be the first meeting between the two sides after the long march, which Dr Qadri had embarked upon to pressure the government to reform the existing exploitative laws and induct such a person as the interim premier who has an unblemished past and whose honesty and impartiality could not be questioned.

The PML-N and some other parties proposed recently that anyone from among Justice (retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid, Justice (retd) Mian Shakirullah Jan, Justice (retd) Ajmal Mian, Pakhtoonkhwah Milli Awami Party Chairman Mehmud Khan Achakzai, senior Baloch leader Ataullah Mengal, former Supreme Court Bar president Asma Jehangir and PML-N Senator Ishaq Dar could be picked up to shoulder the responsibility.

Some media reports say that PPP Senator Raza Rabbani is also being considered for the job.

Highly placed TMQ sources told TheNation here on Saturday that none of the above-mentioned persons was suitable for the job of the caretaker prime minister.

“No doubt judges are honest and impartial; they know the law and the Constitution; they can decide cases but not run the government, not even temporarily,” argued the sources.

Achakzai and Mengal are not acceptable to TMQ because being politicians they can’t be impartial, which is one of the prerequisites for a caretaker prime minister.

Raza Rabbani and Ishaq Dar, according to the TMQ sources, cannot be given the responsibility for the same reason.

The sources further said that Raza Rabbani had opposed the agreement between the government and Dr Qadri, while Ishaq Dar is a close relative of the Sharifs. Because of these reasons, the sources said, these gentlemen would not even be considered for the job.

Asma Jehangir will not be okayed by the TMQ because being the follower of a particular ideology she can’t be expected to be impartial.

The ruling coalition has not so far conveyed any name to Dr Qadri, and the latter was scheduled to discuss the matter with his top aides at a meeting late Saturday night.

The TMQ will like to offer the mantle of the caretaker prime minister to someone who is honest, competent and impartial and also knows the likely manipulative methods used in elections and can prevent them. Such a person, the sources said, should also have the experience of running the administration.

Asked about the possibility of the ruling coalition, the TMQ and the PML-N failing to agree on a consensus candidate for the top office and the matter going ultimately to the Chief Election Commissioner, the sources said such an eventuality could not be ruled out.

However, the sources said in case the man to be chosen by the CEC was not honest and impartial, the TMQ would not accept him and decide its future course of action.

In response to a question, the sources said that the TMQ will also have a say in the selection of the caretaker chief ministers.

In Punjab, the sources said the TMQ will sit with the PPP and the PML-Q to propose a man who could run the province till the completion of the electoral process.

As for the selection of federal and provincial ministers, the TMQ sources said, it would be the duty of the caretaker prime minister and chief ministers. “But we’ll ensure that they are honest and impartial.”

Answering a question, the sources said that the schedule for the dissolution of the assemblies, date of the new elections, and amendments to the election rules would be the other subjects to be discussed at Sunday’s meeting.

In case there is a difference of opinion on any issue, more meetings would be held at the TMQ Secretariat.