EXCLUSIVE: Mohsin Baig Favourite For Caretaker PM

EXCLUSIVE: Mohsin Baig Favourite For Caretaker PM
LAHORE: Senior journalist Mohsin Baig has emerged as a strong contender as of now to become the caretaker prime minister of Pakistan, as the National Assembly is all set to complete its five years tenure on August 13 after which the country will have to move towards the formation of a caretaker government. Multiple sources from the power corridors of Islamabad have confirmed this development to The Friday Times (TFT)

Sources further revealed that so far, two other persons are being considered for caretaker PM, including an acclaimed businessman who is also known for his philanthropic work, and a retired senior bureaucrat who has served as principal secretary to the prime minister. 

Other presumed candidates uninterested or unaware 

Sources familiar with this businessman-industrialist told TFT that he is not interested in taking this post.

“He is not interested in becoming caretaker PM and wants to concentrate on his business,” a source told TFT while adding that the industrialist had not been given any such information as yet. 

Sources close to the retired bureaucrat told TFT that it was news for them as well, and neither they nor the bureaucrat in contention were aware of any such development. 

Mohsin Baig 'a strong contender at the moment' 

Baig, a prominent publisher and editor, is being considered as a potential candidate caretaker prime minister. "The objective is to ensure smooth general elections in the country," a source privy to these sensitive discussions told TFT

Baig faced persecution during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, and became a notable figure due to his arrest during a midnight raid at his residence by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on the orders of then-prime minister Imran Khan. His arrest not only brought him into the spotlight, but also garnered him sympathy from many quarters. 

The move raised eyebrows and drew criticism from media and civil society among others. However, the circumstances surrounding his potential nomination as caretaker prime minister indicate a potential shift in his political fortunes.

Baig has not yet responded to requests for comment, as of the filing of this report. It is possible that Baig wishes to keep the political landscape abuzz with speculation. 

Political circles are suggesting that his candidacy is favored by powerful stakeholders, highlighting a potential alignment of interests between influential powerbrokers in the top echelons of the state. 

Will Mohsin Baig be nominated? 

While the selection of Baig is still under deliberation, there are indications that this move may have broader implications for the future of politics. 

“If he assumes the position, it would demonstrate a departure from the traditional power dynamics and present an opportunity for change and reform in the country's governance,” sources claimed. 

These sources maintained that Baig, who was once an ardent supporter of former prime minister Imran Khan before the latter came to power in 2018, has come forward with claims of his significant contributions to Imran Khan's election campaign. 

Mohsin Baig played significant role in mobilising funds for Khan

During Imran Khan's journey to the premiership, Baig played a pivotal role in mobilizing financial resources and generating support for the PTI. 

Baig has asserted that he successfully crowdfunded over Rs 3 billion to support Imran Khan's electioneering efforts. However, to his dismay, once Imran Khan assumed power, Baig found himself sidelined.

Baig's claims of raising such a substantial amount of funds underscored his dedication and commitment to Imran Khan's cause. However, despite his earlier contributions, Baig's relationship with Imran Khan soured.

Following Imran Khan's ascent to power, Baig's influence and involvement in the political realm underwent a drastic decline. 

For a brief period, Baig served as the editor of renowned newspaper, Daily Times. Unfortunately, their association was short lived and ended due to certain business-related issues that arose between Baig and the newspaper.

The exact nature of these business problems remain undisclosed. However, it appears that they were significant enough to strain the relationship between Mohsin Baig and Daily Times. The fallout ultimately led to the termination of Baig's tenure as editor, further contributing to his distance from the political spotlight.

General elections and caretaker government 

Mohsin Baig's transition from being a devoted supporter of Imran Khan during the firebrand ideologue's opposition period, to being marginalized after Imran Khan assumed power, raises questions about the dynamics between political figures and their supporters. 

As the country prepares for upcoming general elections, the selection of a caretaker prime minister holds immense importance. 

The caretaker PM is tasked with ensuring a fair and transparent electoral process, maintaining law and order, and providing stability during the transition of power. 

However, it is important to note that these reports are based on insider sources and have not been officially confirmed. 

As Pakistan's political environment remains tense, the final decision on the caretaker prime minister candidate will be eagerly awaited by politicians and citizens alike. 

Sources maintained that three names for the caretaker prime minister will be floated from the prime minister and three from the opposition leader in the National Assembly. 

They added that the coming days will reveal whether Baig's name will be officially put forward, and how his potential candidacy will shape the political dynamics leading up to general elections.

The writer is a senior correspondent at The Friday Times with a focus on politics, economy and militancy. He also hosts the Hassan Naqvi Show on Naya Daur.