ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) rejected media reports that the two major coalition partners in the Centre, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the PPP, have reached a consensus on the name of Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar as the caretaker prime minister and termed it as “fake news”.
“Neither any name was shared with the PPP nor we agreed on any name for caretaker prime minister,” said PPP Federal Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman and PPP Information Secretary and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Faisal Karim Kundi in a joint news conference on Monday.
They said that neither such agreement about the name for the caretaker prime minister has not been finalised, as they have even not floated any names for this purpose.
But some media reports on Sunday suggested that a name had been finalised. “The PPP’s party position is the same as before — which is our democratic position entrenched in the Constitution — that it’s better if the caretaker government is non-partisan. We will consult with other political parties which are part of the coalition government for the name of caretaker prime minister,” they said.
Sherry Rehman made it clear that deciding on the caretaker PM’s name was a consultative process and involved discussions among multiple parties, as well as, the opposition leader.
Reiterating that having no bias was one of the requirements of an election, she said, “We are inclined towards it”.
She said that the PPP had formed a three-member committee for consultation on the caretaker setup. “They will inform the party leadership of the [proposed] names, but no decision has been taken so far about it,” she said.
She also denied that her party had been consulted on appointing the caretaker PM from the current federal cabinet.
Both the PPP leaders said that her party’s leadership wanted that elections should be held on time, within the constitutional term, be it 60 days or 90 days. “We believe it will be better for the country and its stability,” they said.
They said that the PPP wants that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) should hold free, fair, and transparent general elections in the country under rules and regulations. They said that every political party should be provided a level-playing field for contesting elections.
Answering a question, Kundi said that if the PML-N shares the name of Ishaq Dar or any other with the PPP then definitely, a discussion will be held on it. “We will propose some names after consultation with other parties. Three names will be short-listed after discussion. The names will also be discussed with the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly,” he said.
He further said that the PPP had reservations about the 2023 census but “elections should not fall victim to census and get delayed”.
On the other hand, when asked, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar during an interview about his possible appointment also did not opt to deny it. “I have always fulfilled my duties whenever I am appointed to any position,” he said when asked about the prospect of his name as caretaker prime minister.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif also denied media reports that the government is considering Finance Minister Ishaq Dar as caretaker prime minister.
Talking to the media outside the Parliament House on Monday, he said that the news was leaked by a credible journalist, but there is no truth to it.
He stated that the work on this has not even started, and he is not aware of it. He said that he has no objection to Dar becoming the caretaker prime minister, but he does not think it is a good idea.
He said that Dar is his good friend, and they spent time in jail together during Musharraf’s era.
However, he said that if a caretaker prime minister comes from the ruling party, people will object.
Top PPP and PML-N leaders are also in Dubai once again to discuss elections and the caretaker set-up. Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman is also set to join them.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023