ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif late Wednesday night sent a summary for the dissolution of the National Assembly to President Arif Alvi, formally beginning the process for the appointment of a caretaker setup.
The summary forwarded by the premier required the president’s nod otherwise the lower house of parliament would stand dissolved after 48 hours if President Alvi didn’t assent to the premature dissolution.
The president dissolves the National Assembly on the advice of the prime minister under Article 58 of the Constitution. With the dissolution of the lower house, the current government’s tenure will also end prematurely.
“The president shall dissolve the National Assembly if so advised by the prime minister; and the National Assembly shall, unless sooner dissolved, stand dissolved at the expiration of forty-eight hours after the prime minister has so advised,” the article reads.
In a statement, Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Javed Abbasi confirmed the development, saying that the elected government has completed its 5-year constitutional term.
“The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs has sent the summary of dissolution of the government to the prime minister,” the minister added.
In the summary, the federal minister said the premier was also asked for the formation of an interim government under Article 224 of the Constitution.
The parliamentary affairs ministry will issue a notification on the approval of the summary and the formation of the caretaker government, he added.
After the dissolution of the National Assembly, a process to appoint a caretaker prime minister will begin under Article 224-A of the Constitution.
PM Shehbaz and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Raja Riaz will hold consultations to finalise the name of the interim prime minister.
If they failed to agree on the name within three days, the matter will go to the parliamentary committee for the appointment of caretaker PM.
Under the law, the premier and the opposition leader will send their respective names for the coveted post to the parliamentary committee.
The parliamentary committee will have to finalise the name of the caretaker prime minister within three days or if it too failed to reach a consensus on the name, then the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will pick the caretaker prime minister within two days from the names proposed by the opposition and the government.
The electoral body will announce the date of the elections under Article 224-1 and if the assembly is dissolved before the completion of the constitutional term, the general elections will have to be held within 90 days.
After the general elections, the ECP is bound to officially notify the election results within 14 days as per the Constitution.
However, the general elections are likely to be delayed in the country after the Council of Common Interests (CCI) approved new census results, requiring the ECP to carry out fresh delimitation — an exercise that will likely to take three to four months.
On Wednesday, addressing the lower house, PM Shehbaz said he would meet Leader of the Opposition in NA Raja Riaz today (Thursday) to deliberate over the names of the caretaker premier.
Sources privy to the matter said that the much-awaited meeting between the premier and the opposition leader was to be held on Wednesday but it was postponed due to the latter’s busy schedule, as he is unable to meet with the prime minister today.
Earlier, when asked if there was a deadlock between him and the premier, Riaz denied any such proposition.
“There is time for three days, during which consultations will be done together,” he said, adding that the names for interim premier will go to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) if there is no agreement on the three names.
Riaz insisted that he would ensure an agreement on one name with Premier Shehbaz. “All efforts will be made to finalise the name of the interim PM with the prime minister.”