According to Pakistan’s leading English newspaper, Dawn, Baluchistan Awami Party (BAP) Senator Anwaarul Haq Kakar has been chosen as the interim prime minister of Pakistan. His job is to keep the country running until a new government is elected.
The much awaited announcement came after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and outgoing Opposition Leader in the National Assembly (NA) Raja Riaz reached a consensus over Kakar’s name for the coveted post during a meeting in Islamabad.
Subsequently, the two leaders sent an advice regarding Kakar’s appointment as the caretaker prime minister to President Arif Alvi, who shortly afterwards accorded his assent.
“President Dr Arif Alvi has approved the appointment of Anwaarul Haq Kakar as caretaker prime minister. The president approved the appointment under Article 224-A of the Constitution,” a statement by the Aiwan-e-Sadr said.
Earlier, in a media talk outside the Prime Minister’s House after meeting PM Shehbaz, Riaz also confirmed that Kakar had been picked to head the interim set-up.
“We had earlier decided that the caretaker PM should be someone from a smaller province and a non-controversial personality. Our aim was to remove the sense of deprivation in small provinces.
“We have finally reached a consensus that Anwaarul Haq Kakar will be the caretaker PM,” Riaz said.
“I had given this name and the PM has consented to this name … I and the PM have signed on the summary,” he told reporters, adding Kakar would be sworn in on Sunday.
Anwaarul Haq Kakar was elected as an independent senator from Baluchistan in 2018, clinching a six-year term that will conclude in March 2024.
Simultaneously, he worked as chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, and as a member of the Business Advisory Committee, Finance and Revenue, Foreign Affairs and Science and Technology.
Kakar also undertook the role of parliamentary leader for the Baluchistan Awami Party — formed in 2018 — within the Senate.
Kakar navigated this leadership position for considerable five-year duration. Nonetheless, a mere five months ago, the party resolved to opt for new leadership, leading to his replacement.
He also served as the spokesperson for the Baluchistan government from December 2015 to January 2018.
According to the Centre for Strategic and Contemporary Research (CSCR), an Islamabad-based research institute, Kakar holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology from the University of Baluchistan.
The institute also mentioned Kakar’s proficiency in English, Urdu, Persian, Pushto, Balochi, and Brahvi languages.
Reacting to the development, former information minister and ex-PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said Kakar was an “honest, educated and modest” Pakistani.
“After a long time, some good news has come for Pakistan. May God be your supporter and bless this decision for Pakistan,” he said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
PPP leader Faisal Karim Kundi welcomed the development and congratulated Kakar. “PPP left it to PM Shehbaz to nominate the caretaker prime minister with the consultation of opposition leader.
“Hope under his leadership Election Commission will conduct free and fair elections,” he added.
Contrary to his colleague Kundi, PPP’s Khursheed Shah opposed Kakar’s selection and said, “We were not aware that Anwaarul Haq’s name will be finalized, and it would have been better if another person was selected for the post.”
However, he added, “Anwaarul Haq Kakar would be remembered if he succeeds in ensuring transparent elections.
Shah told Dawn.com over the phone that the PPP had proposed five names for the interim PM, which did not include Kakar. He shared four names he said were recommended by the PPP — Salim Abbas Jilani, Jalil Abbas Jilani, Muhammad Malik and Afzal Khan.
“Whoever proposed his (Kakar) name, we should hope for good,” the PPP leader said.
PTI Senator Ali Zafar said Kakar is an “intelligent, articulate [and] reasonable man”.
“[He] believes in politics of cooperation not confrontation: has always well represented the interests of Baluchistan [sic]. Wish him the best,” he tweeted.
Separately, Bloomberg quoted political commentator Hasan Askari Rizvi as saying that Kakar’s true test would be whether he follows the IMF’s approach and conducts inclusive elections involving all political parties.
He separately told AFP that Kakar has a limited political career and not much weight in Pakistani politics, but that could work in his favour.
“This can be an advantage because he has no strong affiliation with the major political parties,” he said.
“But the disadvantage is that being a lightweight politician he may find it difficult to cope with the problems he’s going to face without the active support of the military establishment.”
Sources said PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif was insisting, through PM Shehbaz Sharif, on former finance minister Ishaq Dar to be picked as caretaker premier, and if not Dar, then former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.