Pakistani leader Imran Khan today nominated Gulzar Ahmed as caretaker Prime Minister. Fawad Chaudhry, a former Information Minister and leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party, said that Mr Khan made his decision after obtaining approval of the party central committee.
Mr Khan and Shehbaz Sharif were sent letters by President Arif Alvi on Monday seeking suggestions for a caretaker Prime Minister.
“In response to the President’s letter, after consultation and approval by the PTI Core Committee, Prime Minister Imran Khan has nominated Pakistan’s former Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed for the post of caretaker Prime Minister,” Mr Chaudhry said.
In his letter, President Alvi told them in case they do not agree on the appointment within three days of the dissolution of the Parliament, they shall forward two nominees each to a committee to be constituted by the Speaker, comprising eight members of the outgoing assembly, or the Senate, or both, having equal representation from the treasury and the opposition.
According to the President’s Secretariat, the Constitution empowers the president to appoint a caretaker prime minister after consulting with the prime minister and the leader of the Opposition in the outgoing National Assembly.
Mr Khan is supposed to continue as Prime Minister until a caretaker premier is appointed, according to the notification issued by President Alvi.
Calling the process illegal, Shehbaz Sharif said he would not participate in the process. He said that the President and Mr Khan had broken the law and questioned how they could approach the Opposition.
Reacting to Mr Sharif’s decision, outgoing Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said, “Pakistan is gearing up for the elections… Shehbaz has said he will not be a part of the process. That is his choice. We have sent two names (to the President) today. If (Shehbaz) does not send the names within seven days, one of these will be finalised”.
Earlier in the day, the Cabinet Secretariat issued a notification stating that Khan had “ceased to hold the office of the Prime Minister of Pakistan with immediate effect”.
Under Article 94 of the Constitution, the President “may ask the Prime Minister to continue to hold office until his successor enters upon the office of Prime Minister”.
“Mr. Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi, shall continue as Prime Minister till the appointment of caretaker Prime Minister under Article 224 A (4) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” the President said on Twitter.
After Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri rejected a motion of no confidence against Khan, who had effectively lost his majority in the lower house of Parliament, President Alvi dissolved the NA on the advice of Prime Minister Khan.
After taking a suo motu view of the political situation in the nation, Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial said all orders and actions taken by the Prime Minister and President regarding the dissolution of the National Assembly would be subject to the court’s order as he adjourned the hearing for a day.
Despite the weekend, a three-member bench held the initial hearing and issued notices to all respondents, including President Alvi and Deputy Speaker Suri.
The Supreme Court ordered all parties not to take any “unconstitutional” measures and adjourned the hearing until Monday.
Ahsan Bhoon, President of the Supreme Court Bar said that the action of the prime minister and deputy speaker was against the constitution and “they should be prosecuted for treason under Article 6 of the constitution.
The crisis erupted after Suri rejected the no-confidence motion.
Leading constitutional lawyer Salman Akram Raja said that an illegal ruling would also invalidate the advice because he cannot advise the Assembly after being the subject of a no-confidence motion in Parliament.