The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shahbaz Sharif, has ruled out the possibility of the appointment of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar as the caretaker prime minister and said that a neutral person would be selected to lead the interim government next month to make upcoming general elections transparent.
Sharif, as the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, indicated that Nawaz Sharif, his elder brother who has been living in exile in London since 2019 and the holder of the post of Prime Minister of Pakistan three times, will return to Pakistan in the next few weeks.
Additionally, he told Geo News that the notification of the dissolution of the National Assembly would be sent to the President of Pakistan, Arif Alvi, a few days ahead of the completion of the lower house of the parliament. He also expressed that the National Assembly will complete its tenure on August 12, 2023, at midnight.
The Caretaker Government
The caretaker set-up would be agreed upon after the consultation with the allied partners, Nawaz Sharif and the leader of the opposition of the National Assembly, Raja Riaz. His remarks came after rumours suggested that Dar would be appointed as the interim prime minister so that the cash Strapped country, which recently received nearly three billion from the IMF bailout, can implement the policies to overcome financial woes.
“A neutral person should be appointed for this position so that no one would question the results of the elections, Shehbaz said, agreeing with his coalition partners who favoured a non-partisan politician to lead the caretaker set-up. I assure you that there will be a very efficient interim government at the Centre,” he added.
He said that the PML-N would try to make seat adjustments with allied parties adding that the party would field his candidate in the constitutes where they could not reach a consensus. A bill to empower the caretaker setup to take policy decisions was recently passed by the parliament. He also said that Nawaz Sharif will face the law when he returns to Pakistan.
Nawaz Sharif has been living in self-exile in the United Kingdom since November 2019, before his departure to London on a four-week bail by the Lahore High Court on medical grounds. Nawaz was facing a seven-year-old term in the Al-Aziza mills corruption case.
About the coming elections, the premier said that Nawaz Sharif would be the next prime minister if his party came to power. He also responded to a question Shabaz Sharif termed the May 9, 2023 violence triggered by the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan in a graft case conspiracy against Pakistan.
The May 9, 2023 Violence
Calling Imran Khan, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) chairman, the mastermind of the Black Day riots, the premier said that the violence was aimed at toppling the military leadership and initiating a civil war in the country.
Being a prime minister, I am saying this on the basis of 100 per cent evidence that the conspiracy of the May 9 violence was aimed at overthrowing the Army Chief, he said. On that day, there was a plan to create anarchy and civil war in the country, he added.
Violent Protests erupted all across Pakistan after the cricketer-turned-politician who was ousted through a no-trust move in April 2022was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from the Islamabad High Court premises in the Al Qadir case.
Aftermath and Impact
The violence left more than ten people dead as the PTI supporters attacked the public and military properties, including the General Head Quarters in Rawalpindi and the Lahore Corps Commander’s residence. A total of 10,000 people were arrested, with 4000 arrests from the Punjab province of Pakistan itself following the violence. The army also decided to try those who attacked the military installations in the country.
Following the violence, the army sacked three officials, including a Lieutenant General and took strict departmental action against another 15 army officers, such as the three major generals and seven brigadiers.
The PTI contested that its members were not involved in the attacks, but the government and the military rejected the claims and said that they had irrefutable evidence of their involvement.
Pakistan’s apparent economic recovery
To another query, the premier said that his government steered the country out of the default risk and restored the dignity of Pakistan during the past 15 months. The premier again called for unity among the political forces and said that they must agree to a Charter of Economy.
“We had difficulty in reaching an agreement with the IMF (International Monetary Fund), but now the nation has to change its mode of living. On the other hand, the new government will have to utilise the resources and do the hard work to bring the country out of the economic crisis. If we fail to do so, we will never be remembered as a nation,” he added.