Jilani stands fair chance of becoming caretaker PM

PML-N, PPP, PTI have no objection to his name

LAHORE - Former Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice (R) Tassaduq Hussain Jilani stands a fair chance of becoming the caretaker prime minister as the three major political parties seemingly have no objection over his name.

Justice Jilani’s name is among the three names unofficially leaked to the media by the PTI to head the caretaker setup for the purpose of conducting upcoming general elections.

The names of former State Bank governor Dr Ishrat Hussain and former federal minister Razzaq Daud are also making rounds in the media as PTI’s nominees for the top slot.

Credible sources in the PML-N and the PPP have confided to The Nation that their leadership was not averse to the nomination of former chief justice if his name is included in the PTI’s official list. This is despite the fact that Opposition leader Syed Khurshid Shah has hinted at not considering any name coming from Khan’s party since he is angry with the PTI’s leadership for sharing the names with the media.

But sources in the PPP insisted that it was just an expression of displeasure on the part of the opposition leader and he will give due consideration to the names coming from the PTI.

“There is greater likelihood of Justice Jilani’s selection as the caretaker prime minister provided his name is included in the PTI’s official list to be sent to the opposition leader in few days,” a PML-N source told The Nation. 

Justice Jilani served as Chief Justice of Pakistan for eight months after the retirement of Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry in December 2013. He is also related to former Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani and former ambassador of Pakistan to the US, Jalil Abbas Jilani.  

The Nation contacted PTI’s Secretary Information Fawad Ch to Know whether or not the three names already circulating in the media would be included in PTI’s official list following Khurshid Shah’s annoyance over revelation of these names.

PTI’s spokesperson remained tight-lipped over this question as he neither denied nor confirmed any information in this regard. Nonetheless, Fawad told this scribe that his party had shortlisted seven names for the caretaker setup which will be communicated to the opposition leader through Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Commenting on Khurshid Shah’s statement over unofficially leaking the names of probable caretakers to the media, the PTI leader expressed his wonder as to why the PPP wanted to keep the names so secret from the nation.

“Why should there not be a debate in the media over the names of personalities who are going to conduct the coming elections? Are we going to select the nuclear scientists for our nuclear programme?” he asked, adding that if the PPP did not show the courtesy to consult the PTI in the centre, PTI will reciprocate in a similar fashion in respect of Punjab and KP. 

Also, it has been learnt that the ruling PML-N and the PPP have adopted a similar approach on the issue of selection of the caretaker prime minister. The strategy is to pick one of the names recommended by the PTI provided it is not controversial.

In their off the record conversation with The Nation, leaders of the two political parties did not attach much importance to the office of caretaker prime minister for the interim period. They believed that Election Commission of Pakistan was the most powerful office as far as conduct of the elections was concerned as compared to the prime minister. For understandable reasons though, they expressed a different opinion about the roles of caretaker chief ministers during the elections. “Since a chief minister is incharge of the district administration including the police, his role in the conduct of elections becomes important apart from that of the Election Commission,” they said.


Jilani stands fair chance of becoming caretaker PM

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