Stalemate continues: Parliamentary panel to pick out interim PM

Stalemate continues: Parliamentary panel to pick out interim PM

LAHORE / ISLAMABAD: The matter of picking the interim prime minister on Tuesday passed out of the hands of Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the leaders of the house and opposition in the dissolved National Assembly, amid persisting deadlock and into the lap of an eight-member parliamentary committee named by Speaker Fehmida Mirza.

The speaker formally constituted the committee on Tuesday, which will hold its first meeting on today.Under the Constitution, if the parliamentary committee fails to nominate a consensus candidate within three days, the matter will automatically go to the Election Commission, which will have to finalise one name out of four, two each from the PPP and the PML-N, for the post of caretaker prime minister.

The PPP-led alliance had already sent the names of PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, PPP leaders Farooq H Naek and Khursheed Shah, and ANP leader Ghulam Ahmed Bilour to the speaker as its members for the parliamentary committee.The main opposition party PML-N also revealed four names for the bipartisan panel. Sardar Mehtab Khan Abbasi, Senator Pervez Rashid, Khawaja Saad Rafique and Yaqoob Khan Nasir have been picked to negotiate on behalf of the opposition, former leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told reporters on Tuesday.

Deadlock

The opposition also forwarded the names of Justice (retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid and Rasool Bakhsh Palijo for the prime minister’s slot to the parliamentary committee, Nisar said.He added that the government was keen on settling the issue through political bargaining, saying the government had asked him to accept the PPP nominee in the centre in exchange for PML-N’s pick in Punjab.

“I have rejected the offer and decided to take up the issue in the committee,” he said.The PML-N stalwart went on to disclose that the government’s intention to strike a deal behind closed doors would not change during the parliamentary committee negotiations, hinting at the likelihood of the Election Commission having the final say in the matter.

Former information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said his party was still in the middle discussing the names for the caretaker PM to be sent to the committee.Earlier, the outgoing government had nominated Justice (retd) Mir Hazar Khan Khosa, Dr Ishrat Husain and Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh for the top slot.

PML-N pickle

On the other hand, the decision by PML-N to only choose its party members for the committee sparked debate over whether the move was controversial.“The unilateral selection of members of the parliamentary committee from a single party is yet another hit on the relations of the two parties (JUI-F and PML-N) after dropping the name of Justice Shakirullah Jan,” said JUI-F leader Abdul Ghafoor Haideri.

“We had assured PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif that we would support his nominee for the caretaker prime minister but even then we were not trusted,” he added.Meanwhile, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Babar Ghauri said his party had no objection over the nomination of members of the parliamentary committee.

“We respect all the members nominated for the committee and hope they take good decision for the country,” said Ghauri.When asked why only PML-N members were included in the parliamentary committee, Nisar said the party had picked members proportionally and constitutionally.“A hundred MNAs out of a total 108 members of the opposition in NA are from PML-N, so it’s our right to appoint our party members,” he said. – Tribune