In a region mired in conflict, it takes all the more courage, and perseverance to be the voice of the voiceless, and to separate facts from propaganda. Help The Kashmir Monitor sustain so that we continue to be editorially independent. Remember, your contributions, however small they may be, matter to us.

Former Chief Justice of Pakistan Nasirul Mulk announced caretaker PM

Former chief justice of Pakistan Nasirul Mulk was announced as the caretaker prime minister on Monday during a joint press conference held by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah.

The announcement was made by Leader of the Opposition Khursheed Shah at a press conference in Islamabad following a meeting between himself and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who was also present at the press conference along with National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq.

“No one’s name was discarded,” Shah explained. “We have chosen his name on the basis of merit. We took our parties into confidence and decided upon this name.”

“We are happy that the government was able to complete its five-year term. We expect that the elections will be free and fair,” Shah said, adding that the NA speaker had played a major role in both parties reaching an agreement.

“We expect that the elections will be free and fair,” he said.

“All the names under consideration were credible,” PM Abbasi said. “Every name was discussed, and this name was decided upon. It’s a name no one can point fingers at,” he added.

Today’s announcement comes after weeks of deadlock between the PML-N and the opposition over the name of the caretaker PM. Despite a number of meetings over a period of six weeks, there appeared to be a lack of consensus between both parties, with many believing the issue would be sent to a parliamentary committee for deliberation.

In 2015, Nasirul Mulk put his gavel away after a 13-month long stint as head of the country’s superior judiciary. During his short tenure, CJ Nasirul Mulk has given four historical judgments, which have strengthened democracy in the country.

Senior lawyers appreciated his role during 2014 sit-ins by the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Islamabad’s Constitution Avenue. Justice Mulk was also heading the bench that had rejected the plea to disqualify PM Nawaz Sharif for lying on the floor of the National Assembly.

Justice Mulk, along with two other fellow judges, accepted the task of probing rigging claims in the last general elections. All the major parties praised his conduct during the proceedings of the inquiry commission. After spending 86 days, Mulk rejected the rigging allegations.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) proposed names of former chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, former State Bank governor Dr Ishrat Hussain and former minister Abdul Razzaq Daud.

It differed with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) over its nominees. PPP gave names of former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf and former foreign secretary Jalil Abbasi Jilani.

The government’s side had proposed names of former secretary of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Ishtiak Ahmad Khan and former CJPs Jawad S Khawaja and Anwar Zaheer Jamali.

The government and the opposition remained tight-lipped on the matter and were reluctant to share any details. In interactions with journalists in recent days, Shah hinted at getting elevated a “female PM”, giving rise to speculations that Maleeha Lodhi’s name may have been agreed upon.

Another female candidate whose name was under consideration was of former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Shamshad Akhtar.

Next meeting on Tuesday: Impasse in Shah-Abbasi talks on caretaker PM

Since April 11, when Abbasi and Shah formally met for the first time to discuss the caretaker premier’s appointment, a number of names have remained under review.

These included former federal minister Abdul Razak Dawood, former CJPs Nasirul Mulk and Mian Shakirullah Jan, former Supreme Court judge Nasir Aslam Zahid and former caretaker PM Mir Hazar Khan Khoso.