On the other hand Pakistan People's Party and its allies in government were moving secretively on the matter and any of their leaders was approached simply came up with a stereotype reply that the decision would be taken at appropriate time remaining within the constitution.
Sources in PPP informed that they were waiting for the Leader of Opposition's list of two candidates and if any of these names seemed reasonable government would approve it like they had done it in case of appointment of Chief Election Commissioner.
However, these sources said that a few names including former Pakistan Ambassador to UN Abdullah Haroon, former Pakistan Ambassador to US Dr Maleeha Lodhi, former Army Chief Abdul Waheed Kakar, renowned lawyer and human rights activists Ms Asma Jehangir did figured in the meetings of PPP senior leaders but any formal exercise on the subject is yet to take place.
Sources in Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid) said that they were not much interested in the caretaker Prime Minister and were mainly focused on the seat adjustment with Pakistan People's Party, particularly in Punjab.
Similarly Awami National Party was just interested in the caretaker set-up in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and their leadership had given free hand to PPP as far as the caretaker prime minister is concerned.
It is pertinent to mention here that a couple of months back Pakistan Muslim League(Nawaz) had short-listed a few names for discussion with opposition parties but lately after the Allama Tahirul Qadri's Long March and sit-in in Federal Capital some new names were included in the list of probable candidates for the slot of caretaker prime minister and the consultation process was reinitiated. The new comers in the list of probable candidates included renowned lawyer and human right activist Ms Asma Jehangir, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai, Sardar Attaullah Mengal, Justice (retd) Mohammad Ajmal Mian and a few more.
Earlier both Sardar Attaullah Mengal and Mahmood Khan Achakzai had declined their availability but later Mahmood Khan Achakzai had soften his stance after the Tahirul Qadri episode, probably to strengthen the fragile political dispensation against the forces of status quo.
But the revised discussions on the names for caretaker prime minister by opposition parties would unlikely evolve consensus on any single or two names and Leader of Opposition Ch. Nisar Ali Khan has to choose relatively less controversial figure from the list of probable candidates.
A senior PML-N leader on condition of anonymity informed The Nation that the names initially discussed and finalised would remain unchanged keeping in view the strong opposition from some of the main stream opposition parties on the new names included in the list.
While some names like Justice(retd) Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui and Justice(retd) Ajmal Mian could not get approval from the Pakistan People's Party for their overt leaning PML-N. Justice (retd) Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui had contested the Presidential elections against President Zardari as PML-N backed candidate.
Similarly, Mahmood Khan Achakzai's candidature was strongly opposed by both Jamaat-i-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan, as both these parties considered his party as their real rival in Balochistan and being the caretaker prime minister he could affect the elections in the restive province. Both these parties were instrumental in ouster of Ms Asma Jehangir's name from the list.
And as the PML-N was keen to have electoral alliance with both these parties or at least have seat adjustment with them, so Mian Nawaz Sharif was not in a position to ignore their reservations while picking two candidates for caretaker prime minister from opposition side.
Interaction with some senior party leaders from both PML-N and PPP and on the basis of information provided by the sources in these parties the back-channel contacts between these two main stakeholders on the subject of caretaker prime minister could not be ruled out.
A senior PPP leader on condition of anonymity said that leadership of both the parties were in constant contact and were slowly progressing on host of issues including selection of caretaker prime minister.
He further said that the back channel consultations were not confined to caretaker prime minister, and though there is constitutional provision for that, but both sides were also discussing the caretaker cabinet and holding of elections to both national and provincial assemblies on same day.