Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will send a summary to President Dr Arif Alvi later today for the dissolution of the National Assembly (NA).
The government had announced that assemblies would be dissolved on August 9 (today), three days ahead of its mandated period, following which elections are to be held within 90 days.
Speaking at a ceremony at General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Tuesday, PM Shehbaz had confirmed that he would write to the president today to bring an end to the incumbent government’s tenure.
In a separate meeting with media bodies, the premier said after the dissolution of the assembly, the chief election commissioner was mandated to decide the future course of action regarding the elections.
However, he added, all the parties were unanimous in their view that elections should be held as soon as possible.
Today, the prime minister chaired the final meeting of the federal cabinet, which is currently under way in Islamabad, according to TaazaTaren.
During the meeting, PM Shehbaz is expected to take cabinet members into confidence over the composition of the caretaker government, which is likely to have representation from all allied parties.
Caretaker set-up: It is expected that the prime minister will hold a meeting with the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Raja Riaz to fulfil his constitutional obligation i.e. consultations regarding the appointment of an interim premier.
The prime minister and the opposition leader can consult on the matter for three days, even after the dissolution of the assembly. In case a consensus is not reached, then the matter is referred to the Election Commission of Pakistan.
A day earlier, PM Shehbaz denied the finalisation of any candidates for the post. “No. None till now … no name has been shortlisted,” he said during an interview on Dawn News show ‘Live with Adil Shahzeb’ when asked about the nominees.
The premier added consultations with the government’s allies and his own party members on the matter were a “continuous process” that would be completed within a day or two.
To a question about a PML-N member being appointed as the interim premier, he said parties in the ruling coalition should make a decision to ensure that the status of the interim prime minister was “generally acceptable” to the people.
Opposition finalises three names: Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition Raja Riaz told reporters a day earlier that he hoped his meeting with the PM would take place today where these matters would be discussed. He was of the view that consultations would take place at “the right time”.
According to the opposition leader, he had completed the consultation process with his allies and three names for the interim prime minister were almost finalised.
Later, Riaz told Aaj News that the names for the caretaker PM were finalised after he held three meetings with lawmakers from the opposition. “They do not include any politicians, but an economist has been shortlisted,” he revealed.
The opposition leader said he could even consider a politician for the interim PM slot if suggested by the government. Some political observers believed that Raja Riaz is a “friendly opposition leader” so he will not oppose the name chosen by PM Shehbaz for the slot of caretaker prime minister.
Regarding potential delays in elections, Riaz said polls should ideally be held within three months but the approval of the latest census has complicated the matters. “I think the election will be delayed by six months,” he said.
It may be noted that Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has already said that general elections could be delayed due to the delimitations of constituencies after the notification of the 2023 census. He expected polls could be delayed till March next year.