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A welcome step

After weeks of deadlock between the PML-N and the opposition over the name of the caretaker PM, the prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and opposition leader Syed Khursheed Shah have finally succeeded in picking a unanimous candidate for caretaker prime minister. Veteran jurist and former chief justice of Pakistan Justice (retired) Nasirul Mulk has been announced as caretaker premier who will head the interim setup, which is constitutionally bound to hold elections within 60 days after the formation of interim government in the country. “We have selected a candidate for caretaker premier who will prove to play a democratic role in the upcoming general election”, Prime Minister Abbasi said while addressing a press conference along with opposition leader Khursheed Shah and National Assembly speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq. Describing the agreed-upon candidate for caretaker PM as someone who no one can object to, the PM said, “His role as a caretaker PM will be in favour of the country and the democratic process”. The premier thanked the NA speaker for facilitating the process “in a constitutional manner” and for playing a role in both parties reaching a consensus. The PPP leader who made the formal announcement regarding the caretaker prime minister said, “We have chosen his name on the basis of merit. We took our parties into confidence and decided upon this name.”We are happy that the government was able to complete its five-year term,” Shah said, adding that the NA speaker had played a major role in both parties reaching an agreement. “We have made a democratic decision. I am thankful to the PM, to the speaker, for making this decision with patience, setting aside emotion. The name of the person I would like to present is very respectable,” the veteran PPP leader said. “I am hopeful that God will give him the passion and courage to successfully conduct free, fair and impartial elections in Pakistan on July 25, 2018.”
The veteran jurist’s selection as caretaker PM is a welcome step that is being widely hailed and largely seen as good omen for democracy. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf too has welcomed the decision and congratulated Justice Mulk on being appointed as caretaker PM. “Want to congratulate Justice (r) Nasir ul Mulk on being appointed Caretaker PM”, PTI chief tweeted. Hailing the decision the PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari wrote on his tweeter handle, “Moving forward for the sake of strengthening democracy — congratulations to Justice (r) Nasirul Mulk on being appointed caretaker prime minister”.
Terming it as a victory for democracy the Awami National Party (ANP) leader Zahid Khan said all political parties would agree on the name of Justice (retd) Mulk. Expressing optimism that Justice (r) Mulk will conduct transparent elections Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) leader Sahibzada Tariq Ullah said the party accepted the name of Justice (retd) Mulk as caretaker PM. The ANP leader termed this as a victory for democracy and hoped that there would be a smooth transition of power after the next elections.
Justice (r)Mulk has a great track record of being a man of integrity and honesty. He is reckoned to be amongst the finest judges Pakistan has ever produced. It is hoped that Justice ® Mulk will continue his legacy as a free man who follows dictates of none but his own conscience. With the announcement of Justice ® Nasirul Mulk as caretaker Prime Minister all the fears and speculations have been put to rest, defying the rumours that they [general elections] would be deferred for an indefinite period. Now that the PM and opposition leader have achieved this important milestone it is time that all the stakeholders should pool their efforts to make sure that the elections are held at scheduled time in a peaceful atmosphere and in a transparent manner.

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