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Thursday, June 20, 2024  
13 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

Dar first choice for interim PM as coalition agrees on appointing economic expert

Pakistan recently clinched last-minute IMF deal
File photo.
File photo.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has emerged as the leading candidate for post of caretaker prime minister, sources told Aaj News on Sunday. The parties in the ruling coalition and even the International Monetary Fund have agreed on bringing an economic expert for the top slot, as Pakistan moves towards election.

The coalition government was considering bringing amendments to the Election Act 2017, sources said and added that if done they would empower the caretaker prime minister to make “decisions on important matters”.

The development comes as political bigwigs, Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari, meet in Dubai for discussions on the dissolution of Parliament and caretaker setup.

Pakistan recently clinched a last-minute deal with the International Monetary Fund to secure much-needed funding. Earlier this month, the executive board of the IMF greenlit the $3 billion Stand-by Arrangement for nine months.

Many experts have stressed the need for appointing an economic expert for the coveted slot if the caretaker setup tenure was to extend for any reason. But Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has ruled out any such possibility and described it as a topic of discussion for media channels.

Dar nearly confirmed to Adil Shahzeb of Dawn News on Sunday that Section 230 of the Election Act 2017 was set to be tweaked in order to empower the caretaker government. The decision would expand the interim premier’s powers.

The above-mentioned law restricts the caretaker government to handle minor day to day tasks of running the country while it helps the Election Commission of Pakistan in preparing for elections.

Dar said that the tweaks woudl enable upcoming interim PM would be able to take “important decisions”, presumably in terms of the economy.

He added that Pakistan could not afford losing three hours of government, let alone three months, because of its present economic state.

“To the best of my understanding, yes. I don’t think this is something to hide from the nation. They will find out and it should [indeed] be amended,” Dar said. He was of the view that it would be “inappropriate” for the caretaker prime minister to be concerned only with routine tasks.

Meanwhile, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, when he was asked about Dar’s name for the slot on Geo News show Naya Pakistan said Dar, or anyone, could be the caretaker prime minister only if the government and opposition agreed.

He added that it would be premature to comment further on the matter.

Allied parties to meet to discuss caretaker set up

Meetings between the parties of the ruling coalition are set to take place on Monday to discuss the name of the caretaker prime minister.

The PPP, which is part of the government but not the PDM alliance, has formed a negotiation committee under former PM Yousaf Raza Gillani which will hold talks with the PML-N today. Khursheed Shah and Naveed Qamar are also part of the committee.

Sources within the PML-N, which is the largest party in the coalition, claimed that Dar’s name has already been floated to the JUI-F, MQM and ANP and no reservations had been expressed by any of them.

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Ishaq Dar



Finance minister

PDM government