President Arif Alvi administered the oath to Kakar, with former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif, ex-cabinet members and the chiefs of the armed forces in attendance. Following the oath-taking ceremony, a guard of honour welcomed Kakar at the PM’s Office.
Earlier in the day, Senate chairman Sadiq Sanjrani had accepted Kakar’s resignation as a senator. Kakar also resigned from his position in the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), which he had co-founded in 2018 with the backing of the powerful military establishment.
As interim PM, his first task would be to choose a cabinet to run the routine affairs of the cash-strapped country. However, the role of the interim PM has assumed extraordinary importance since the former PM approved the results of a digital census on August 5, making a delay in general elections nearly inevitable.
Last month, Pakistan’s parliament had amended its election laws to empower the caretaker government to take important economic decisions, raising widespread concern that the move was in anticipation of a caretaker set-up that would last longer than its constitutionally mandated three months.
The former PM had dissolved the National Assembly last week, three days before completion of its term on August 12, apparently to give the caretaker government 90 days to organise general elections, compared to 60 days if he were to step down on time, as per the constitution.
There has also been speculation about the reluctance of the authorities to hold general elections this year. Pakistan has been in political turmoil since Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan was dismissed as PM by a no-confidence vote in April 2022, culminating in him being jailed last weekend for three years in a graft case. Khan has also been disqualified from contesting elections for five years. He, however, has appealed his sentence and conviction.
The circumstances surrounding Kakar’s appointment have not been devoid of controversy. The decision has strained relations between the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), a partner in the former coalition government.
BNP-M head Sardar Akhtar Mengal expressed reservations on X, formerly Twitter, regarding the PML-N’s selection of Kakar as the caretaker PM and the perceived reliance on establishment support to address the nation’s challenges.
In a letter addressed to PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif, Mengal lamented the trend of politicians seeking the establishment’s involvement in resolving various issues.