'Caretaker' Or 'Undertaker'?: Akhter Mengal Paints Grim Picture Of Interim PM Kakar

Balochistan-based politician questions Kakar's impartiality, ability to conduct polls on time

'Caretaker' Or 'Undertaker'?: Akhter Mengal Paints Grim Picture Of Interim PM Kakar

Balochistan National Party (BNP) Chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal has voiced his opposition to the appointment of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader and Senator Anwaarul Haq Kakar as the interim prime minister of the country with the responsibility of conducting free, fair and transparent general elections in the country. The Baloch nationalist leader stated that there should be a difference between a caretaker and an undertaker.

The caretaker setup should not prove to be the graveyard of democracy, the Baloch nationalist leader told The Friday Times in an exclusive interview ahead of Kakar's oath-taking ceremony, scheduled for Monday.

Mengal shared his views after writing a terse indictment of the way the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led the rainbow coalition in its final days, which culminated in the 'surprise' nomination of Kakar for the caretaker prime minister slot.

Kakar will be the second interim prime minister from Balochistan, but his nomination by Leader of the Opposition Raja Riaz Ahmad and outgoing prime minister Shehbaz Sharif's decision to readily agree to it even though it was a name not mentioned at all in the run-up to the three-day constitutional discussion raised more than one eyebrow in the Pakistani political arena.

Mengal said the eighth caretaker prime minister of the country will have to shoulder the massive responsibility of holding free, fair and transparent polls. 

"It is the responsibility of the caretaker to look after the day-to-day affairs of government - hence the term caretaker, and that he/she should be impartial," Mengal reminded, suggestively adding that Kakar had a clear affiliation with an active political party. 

When told that Kakar had renounced his party and resigned from Senate membership for neutrality, Mengal pointed out these were little more than last-minute ironing out of wrinkles. 

"Is there any clause in the law that allows this," the BNP chief asked.

Instead, he directed his anger towards coalition partners and mentioned that the outgoing prime minister had not even bothered to consult him on the selection of Kakar for this important responsibility.

"I conveyed to Shehbaz Sharif that the caretaker should not be an undertaker," Mengal said, noting that he had made these remarks at a meeting of the coalition where senior leaders of respective political parties, including Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and other heavyweight politicians.

"Will he [Kakar] not influence the upcoming general elections," he asked.

About upcoming general elections, the senior politician from Balochistan expressed his doubts on whether polls will be held on time.