Pakistan senator Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar becomes caretaker PM

President Arif Alvi approved appointment in time for national elections

Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar will be caretaker PM to see the country through to the next election. AFP
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Pakistani senator Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar was appointed as caretaker prime minister to oversee the national elections, the prime minister's office said on Saturday.

The decision followed a meeting between outgoing premier Shehbaz Sharif and opposition leader Raja Riaz. Mr Sharif's office released a statement on Sunday, with the outgoing prime minister saying he prayed "that the caretaker prime minister and his cabinet fulfill the expectations of the people and the constitution."

Pakistan's parliament was dissolved on Wednesday, and by law an election should be held within 90 days, which in this instance means early November.

However, the results of the latest census released last week means more time is likely to be needed to redraw constituencies.

Whenever it happens, it will likely be without former prime minister Imran Khan, who was convicted of corruption last weekend and sentenced to three years in jail.

The interim government takes over a country that has been in political turmoil since Khan was dismissed by a no-confidence vote in April last year, and is also facing overlapping economic and security issues.

Mr Kakar, a lesser known politician from the south-western province of Balochistan, will name a cabinet and head a government to steer the country until a new government is elected.

Pakistan's Geo News said President Arif Alvi approved Mr Kakar's appointment.

Mr Kakar has been serving a six-year term in Pakistan's Senate since 2018.

His mineral-rich home province of Balochistan is Pakistan's largest by size, but smallest by population, and has been a hotbed for a violent nationalist insurgency for decades.

While Mr Kakar is listed as an independent politician by the Senate, he is reported by local media to be a part of the Balochistan Awami Party, which is widely considered to be close to the country's powerful military.

The choice of caretaker prime minister has assumed heightened importance this time because the candidate will have extra powers to make policy decisions on economic matters.

The Election Commission has to draw new boundaries for hundreds of federal and provincial constituencies and, based on that, it will give an election date.

Updated: August 13, 2023, 12:15 PM