Dar terms caretaker PM talks ‘premature’, says consultations not yet started

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar speaks during an interview in Islamabad, aired on July 25, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar speaks during an interview in Islamabad, aired on July 25, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube
  • Nawaz to partake in elections, says Finance Minister Dar.
  • PML-N supremo to return with a “bang”, FinMin Dar says.
  • Tenure of caretaker set-up should be 90 days, he adds.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, whose name was suggested as the caretaker prime minister, has said the talks for the coveted post are “premature,” and consultations have not yet begun for the appointment.

During an interview on a private television channel on Tuesday, he said the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) leadership — the alliance ruling in the Centre — would decide on the appointment.

Mainstream media had quoted party insiders as saying that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) — a major partner in the ruling alliance — had decided to pick Dar as the caretaker PM.

But later, not only did political commentators criticise the suggestion, but the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) also showed reluctance in backing the finance minister.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif also shot down the speculations and said that no one close to the top PML-N leadership — the Sharif family — would be picked as the interim PM to ensure that fingers aren’t pointed at the caretaker setup.

In his interview, the finance czar said he would accept the leadership’s decision on the appointment, but noted that the caretaker setup’s powers should be enhanced.

Dar said the interim government’s tenure should be 90 days, not 60 days — as sources have indicated that the PDM-led government may dissolve assemblies before their term ends, providing the caretaker setup 90 days.

He added that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is responsible for holding polls in a transparent manner.

Nawaz’s return

With the polls expected later this year, Dar hinted at the return of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif ahead of the elections.

“The parliament has decided to limit the disqualification of parliamentarians to 5 years […] and Nawaz Sharif and Jahangir Tareen have completed their time,” the PML-N leader said.

“The country needs a leader like Nawaz Sharif and he will back with a ‘bang’,” he said.

The law limiting the disqualification of lawmakers to a period of up to five years was approved last month.

Defending his policies, Dar said he had repeatedly stressed that Pakistan would not default.

Taking a jibe at the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Dar said “serious” people have begun leaving the former ruling party after the May 9 mayhem.


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