Caretaker set-up in Pakistan finalised, rumours wrong, election on time: ECP
Justice Nasir to act as 7th caretaker PM
ISLAMABAD: Meeting the constitutional requirement, the PML-N civilian government came to an end at midnight on Thursday/Friday and a caretaker set-up came into existence. The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs on Thursday issued a notification announcing the dissolution of the 14th National Assembly at midnight on May 31, 2018.
The notification was issued in line with Article 52 of the Constitution, which states simply that: “The National Assembly shall, unless sooner dissolved, continue for a term of five years from the day of its first meeting and shall stand dissolved at the expiration of its term.” Copies of the notification have been sent to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Aiwan-i-Sadr (Presidency), as well as all provinces, the Election Commission of Pakistan, the National Assembly and Senate.
Separately, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) also announced the final schedule for general elections. As per the schedule, a public notice will be issued on June 1 (today) notifying the formal start of the election schedule.
Once the notice is issued, all candidates will be able to apply for nomination papers. The nomination papers can be submitted for scrutiny from June 2 till June 6. From June 7, the ECP will start vetting the candidates. The vetting will continue till June 14. Candidates and their rivals will be able to appeal the ECP’s decision to reject or approve nominations by June 19.
The decisions on these appeals will be given by June 26. The final list of candidates will be issued by June 27, and all shortlisted candidates will have till June 28 to withdraw their nomination papers. Then, on June 29, the ECP will allot election symbols and bow out to allow the candidates to begin their campaigns in earnest. In an informal chat outside the commission, the ECP secretary dispelled rumours that the authority had been barred from issuing the schedule at any point.
“We are ready for the election,” he said. He revealed that the raw material for the ballot papers was being imported from France and the UK. Half of it will land in Karachi, and the other half in Islamabad. The ballots will be printed under the army’s oversight. “There has been no decision yet on the deployment of the military to ensure security on election day,” he said to another question. “The matter will be taken up with the caretaker government.”
Ex-CJP Nasir-ul-Mulk has been selected as the caretaker prime minister who will assume the office upon the expiry of the tenure of PML-N government on May 31. After several rounds of talks between Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah, two sides achieved the breakthrough. The announcement was made in a press conference jointly addressed by PM Abbasi, Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, Khursheed Shah and Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb at the Parliament House. Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk is Pakistan’s 7th caretaker Prime Minister. He previously performed duties as the 22nd Chief Justice of Pakistan. He remained in office from6 July 2014 till 16August 2015. Prior to his appointment as Chief Justice, he also rendered services as the acting Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan from 30 November to 6 July 2014. Justice Mulk is one of the seven judges who signed an application on Nov 3, 2007, restraining the government to impose martial law in Pakistan. He later joined the judiciary on Sept 20, 2008, under the Naek formula when he took a fresh oath as a judge of the Supreme Court with his seniority intact. Justice Mulk also presided and heard the Mukhtaran Mai case – a highly controversial gang rape case that occurred in 2002.
Belonging to Mingora, Justice Mulk has acquired a Bachelor’s degree in law (LLB) from Peshawar University in 1972. He later on went to United Kingdom to do his Master’s (LLM) at the Inner Temple, where he qualified as bar-in-law in 1976.