PPP ‘agrees’ on Justice Nasir as caretaker prime minister

PPP ‘agrees’ on Justice Nasir as caretaker prime minister

ISLAMABAD: As the January 14 ultimatum of Dr Tahirul Qadri draws nearer, President Asif Ali Zardari has reportedly given nod to Justice (r) Nasir Aslam Zahid for leading the caretaker government as prime minister.

His name was proposed by the main opposition party, PML-N.Sources in the ruling PPP told Media on Sunday that President Zardari and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari agreed on the name of Justice Nasir a few days ago and they advised Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to convey the decision to Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.Sources further said that Raja would soon formally convey this decision to Ch Nisar and discuss with him modalities of the caretaker setup including representation of other parliamentary parties in the caretaker cabinet.

Sources in the PML-N and PPP said that informally the PPP leadership has already conveyed the selection of Justice Nasir to the PML-N leadership through backdoor channels. They said both the parties were now struggling to sort out issues relating to the caretaker set up in the Punjab where PML-N wants a more advantageous position and seeks right to select caretaker chief minister of its choice who would of course be a ‘non-political’ figure, on the face of it.Conceding that both the parties were engaged at backdoors, PML-N central information secretary Senator Mushidullah Khan told Media that such discussions were of no significance unless the prime minister officially approaches leader of the opposition and makes the announcement.

He said the PM and Leader of Opposition are constitutionally bound to make a joint announcement about the name of caretaker prime minister.Reiterating the demand of his party for early elections, PML-N leader said the prime minister should also announce the schedule of the general elections so that attempts of the anti-democratic forces were duly countered to do away with public anxiety about the future of democracy in the country.PPP sources told Media that the party leadership has ‘in principle’ agreed to hold the general elections in March 2012; therefore, it was also decided to place in the caretaker setups by January.

They said all the parliamentary parties would get due representation in the federal caretaker cabinet.However, they also said that the PM and Leader of Opposition in NA might also agree on taking onboard non-parliamentary political forces if they so desired in order to make a broad based consensual caretaker setup. They also confirmed that PPP leadership has already started informal consultations with respective parliamentary parties in the provinces about the caretaker setups there.Name of Justice (r) Nasir was proposed by the PML-N while the PPP has been considering the names of Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations Abdullah Hussain Haroon and former Supreme Court Bar Association President Asma Jahangir.

But the rapid changes on the political scene – including the January 14 ultimatum by TMQ – have forced the PPP topnotch to pick the retired justice ostensibly in a preemptive mode.Justice Nasir was one of the judges who had refused to take oath under the PCO during the Musharraf regime and this along with his overall neutral personality makes him fit for the said job. He has been working with a private organisation to secure release of Pakistani prisoners from the Indian jails. Born on February 3, 1935, Nasir Aslam Zahid served as Chief Justice of Sindh High Court and then a judge of the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan and the Supreme Court. – Ntion