President Dr Arif Alvi on Saturday approved a summary to appoint Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) member Anwaarul Haq Kakar as the caretaker prime minister until elections are held to elect a new prime minister to run the country.
A summary containing Kakar's name and duly signed by both Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Leader of the Opposition Raja Riaz Ahmad at the end of their three-day discussions was sent to President Alvi on Saturday. Alvi subsequently approved it.
صدر مملکت ڈاکٹر عارف علوی نے انوار الحق کاکڑ کی بطور نگران وزیراعظم تعیناتی کی منظوری دے دی— The President of Pakistan (@PresOfPakistan) August 12, 2023
صدر مملکت نے تعیناتی کی منظوری آئین کے آرٹیکل 224 ایک اے کے تحت کی pic.twitter.com/U8mGQXLZva
Kakar will become the eighth caretaker prime minister in Pakistan's history.
Consensus on the BAP senator was evolved after Shehbaz and Ahmed failed to gain the other's favour over their preferred names.
Shehbaz has been pushing the names of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and former federal finance minister Senator Ishaq Dar for the caretaker prime minister slot. Failing which, former prime minister and disgruntled PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is the preferred option.
Ahmad, who was all but abandoned by his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), for adopting a dissident view of the party's parliamentary policy to resign en-masse, has been pushing for the appointment of Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani as the caretaker prime minister.
Sanjrani, meanwhile, had embarked on a charm offensive in the past couple of days, first meeting PM Shehbaz in the PM House and then with Ishaq Dar and Ahsan Iqbal.
Caretaker PM from 'smaller province'
Speaking to the media outside the PM House after the meeting between Shehbaz and Ahmad, the two stated that they had mutually decided that the caretaker prime minister would be someone from a smaller province.
“We have finally reached a consensus that Anwaarul Haq Kakar will be the caretaker PM,” Ahmad said.
“We had earlier decided that the caretaker PM should be someone from a smaller province and a non-controversial personality. Our aim was to remove the sense of deprivation in small provinces," he added.
Ahmad added that he had suggested Kakar's name.
"The PM has consented to this name … I and the PM have signed on the summary," he asserted.
Who is Anwarul Haq Kakar?
Anwaarul Haq Kakar was elected as an independent senator from Balochistan province for a tenure of March 2018 to March 2024 on general seat.
He was also working as chairperson Senate Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, and as member of the Business Advisory Committee, Finance and Revenue, Foreign Affairs and Science and Technology.
Kakar had co-launched a political party Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and also served as spokesman for the government of Balochistan.
Kakar's appointment was met with mixed reactions. Some deeming him the best choice in the current circumstances and a patriot while others suggesting that the appointment sealed who was really pulling the strings.
Former diplomat and foreign secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani, who was rumoured to be among the candidates in the running to become the caretaker prime minister congratulated Senator Kakar, expressing confidence he would discharge his responsibilites with dignity.
Congratulations to @anwaar_kakar for being appointed Caretaker PM. Mr. Kakar has always been a loyal patriot of the land and will discharge his responsibilities with dignity and poise. I wish him good luck!— Jalil Abbas Jilani (@JalilJilani) August 12, 2023
Analyst Fahd Husain termed Kakar as the 'best choice' to lead the caretaker setup.
Senator @anwaar_kakar is the best choice for caretaker PM. Not only is a highly respected parliamentarian from Baluchistan, he commands respect across the political divide. He is well-read, well-spoken & ideally suited for this high office. Best wishes to him#CaretakerGovt— Fahd Husain (@Fahdhusain) August 12, 2023
Fellow analyst Ayesha Siddiqa suggested the appointment was an indictment of the political process.
With the choice of caretaker prime minister the establishment has demonstrated that the political system will now be military driven. The gentleman is a product of the national security workshop at the NDU. The army’s long term investment has begun to bear fruit— Ayesha Siddiqa (@iamthedrifter) August 12, 2023