ISLAMABAD - The government and the opposition Monday finally agreed on having former chief justice Nasirul Mulk as caretaker prime minister.

The term of the ruling PML-N will end on May 31. The decision to name Nasir as caretaker premier came after a series of meetings between Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Leader of the Opposition Syed Khurshid Shah.

A day earlier, Shah had said loud and clear that he would not talk to Abbasi anymore and would refer the matter to the parliamentary committee.

In a surprise move, Abbasi and Shah met in the morning and agreed on the name of Nasir. The duo announced the name at a hurriedly-called press conference at the Parliament House. National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq was sitting between Shah and Abbasi when the outgoing prime minister termed it a ‘historic day’.

Abbasi said: “The political parties have crossed another milestone toward strengthening of democratic order in the country. It is an important day in the democratic journey of the country and will go a long way in serving the cause of democracy. We have evolved consensus on a caretaker prime minister. We have picked such a person who has a spotless career and no one can object to it.”

The PM praised NA speaker for his role in developing consensus on caretaker premier.

Leader of Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah thanked all the political parties for their support and termed it healthy sign for democracy. Merit was the only criteria behind the selection of former CJP.

He expressed satisfaction over the consensus decision as the matter was resolved between the political forces and termed it a step toward the supremacy of the parliament, which in his view should be upheld at all costs.

Abbasi concluded the press conference when a reporter asked Shah a question about merits of candidates.

Before the meeting with PM – the sixth in row over the issue – the opposition leader in a brief talk with the media said that the deadlock was over and they agreed on the person from the list of six proposed by the government and opposition.

The name of Nasir was among the list of the candidates proposed by the government but insiders in the ruling PML-N said that their first choice was Justice (r) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani.

Outgoing PM Abbasi said the name was selected after careful consideration and studying in detail his credentials and the past.

To a question, he refuted that former PM Nawaz Sharif had opposed having any retired judge as the caretaker prime minister. He said there were no such directives from Nawaz.

NAME WELCOMED WIDELY

Mainstream political parties, including PTI, Jamaat-i-Islami and Qaumi Watan Party welcomed the nomination of Nasir.

PTI chairman took to Twitter to congratulate the former chief justice. "Want to congratulate Justice (Retd) Nasirul Mulk on being appointed caretaker PM," Imran tweeted.

PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said his party welcomes the decision. "Justice (Retd) Mulk has an advantage as he was the head of a judicial commission probing into rigging in 2013 general elections," Chaudhry said while talking to media.

"He is aware of issues pertaining to elections. We hope that he implements the recommendations he gave as acting chief election commissioner to ensure the upcoming general election is transparent," the PTI leader further said.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari welcomed the decision.

Bilawal took to the Twitter to congratulate Justice (Retd) Mulk. "Moving forward for the sake of strengthening democracy – congratulations to Justice (r) Nasirul Mulk on being appointed caretaker prime minister," he tweeted.

In a statement, Zardari said he expected free and fair polls as the PPP had sacrificed for democracy. “The completion of term by another government has strengthened democracy. The appointment of the caretaker PM had enhanced the reputation of the parliament,” he added.

In a statement, Information and Broadcasting Minister greeted Nasir on his nomination as caretaker PM.

Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique said that the nation should be congratulated.

“This is a victory for the constitution and law,” said the federal minister. He said that hopefully the selection will pave way for free and fair elections.

Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) leader Sahibzada Tariq Ullah said the party accepted the name of Justice (Retd) Mulk as caretaker PM.

“He [Nasir] has served as the chief justice of the Supreme Court. We hope that he will conduct free, fair and transparent elections,” the JI leader said.

Awami National Party (ANP) leader Zahid Khan termed the appointment a victory for democracy and hoped that there would be a smooth transition of power after the next elections.

Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) leader Mahmood Khan Achakzai also welcomed the appointment of Nasir as caretaker premier.

 

BRIEF PROFILE OF NASIRUL MULK

 

Born on August 17, 1950, in Swat, Nasir is a barrister-at-law of the Inner Temple, London. He was elected as secretary general of Peshawar High Court Bar Association in 1981.

Before his appointment as judge of the Peshawar High Court on June 4, 1994, he served as advocate general of NWFP (now KP) for a year. He was elevated as chief justice of Peshawar High Court on May 31, 2004 and as a Supreme Court judge on April 4, 2005.

He is remembered for the way he conducted the contempt case against then prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. He convicted the then chief executive for 30 seconds while maintaining the dignity and honour of the court, and left the disqualification issue open to the Election Commission of Pakistan and the then speaker of National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza.

He was one of the seven judges who signed a restraining order on Nov 3, 2007, when Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency and forcibly sent the judges home. He was also sworn in as the acting Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of Pakistan in November 2013.

 

PUNJAB CARETAKER CM

 

In Punjab, the government and the opposition with consensus chose former chief secretary Nasir Mahmood Khosa for caretaker chief minister.

Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed called on Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif at Model Town where they announced the name of Khosa.

Earlier, the two sides had presented two names each. Two of those four names were shortlisted and ultimately Khosa was picked up for the top slot of Punjab province. He will take oath of the office on June 1.

Talking on the occasion, the chief minister said that name of Khosa has been agreed upon after consultation with the opposition leader.

“Some names were suggested during the earlier meeting and we have consulted our party leadership afterwards... we have agreed on one name and this democratic harmony is the beauty of democratic system. It is the victory of the people and I am thankful to Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed as the consultation process gives impetus to the democracy,” he added.

Shehbaz said that Khosa has performed his duties with utmost honesty and hard work during his service career and he is hopeful that he will come up to the expectations of the people.

Rasheed said the second meeting with Shehbaz has proved fruitful and after considering different names and discussion with the PTI leader Imran Khan they have agreed on the name.

“I am hopeful that he will play his role most objectively with regard to holding of free, fare and transparent elections. I also extend congratulations to the people of Punjab,” said the opposition leader.

 

MANZOOR AFRIDI DROPPED AS CARETAKER KP CM

 

PTI Chairman Imran Khan disapproved of Manzoor Afridi’s nomination as caretaker chief minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and directed Pervez Khattak to consider another name after consultation with the opposition.

Khan directed Khattak to drop his name as according to sources, party leadership and workers had reservations about Afridi’s name.

According to Shuakat Yousafzai, consultations between the government and opposition were underway. The other names are former Nepra DG Himayatullah, KP ex-chief secretary Abdullah and former IGP Abbas Khan.

Dissident PTI MPA Qurban Khan said the name of Himayatullah was expected to be announced as caretaker CM as, he said, Himayat was considered an experienced person.

 

TALKS BEGIN IN SINDH

In Karachi, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Opposition Leader in Sindh Assembly Khwaja Izharul Hassan formally initiated talks on caretaker setup.

The meeting between the two leaders of the assembly was held at the chamber of the chief minister on Monday soon after the conclusion of the provincial assembly proceedings.

Talking to the Nation, Khawaja Izhar said that during the meeting they exchanged the list of names and it was decided that any talks on the names would be held after both sides discuss it with the party leaders and other stakeholders.

“We have given five to six names to the chief minister and he had also given us some names but there was no common name between us,” he said, adding that it was decided not to reveal the names in order to avoid controversy as all of them are respectable people. He said that it was decided that there would be next sitting today where both of them would deliberate on the names exchanged by them.

 

 

Ex-CJP Nasirul Mulk named caretaker PM

 

OUR STAFF REPORTER