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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar Appointed Interim Prime Minister of Pakistan

The Pakistani authorities named a caretaker prime minister on Saturday, a transfer that kicks off preparations for the nation’s subsequent normal elections and comes amid a yr of political turmoil.

The shut ties that the brand new chief, Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar, has to the nation’s highly effective army reinforces its dominance over Pakistan’s politics, sending a transparent message: After a yr of political turmoil that challenged the authority of army leaders, they’ve a agency hand on the wheel as soon as extra.

“He’s undoubtedly a alternative of the institution,” Khalid Mahmood Rasool, a political analyst and newspaper columnist, stated, referring to the army institution.

The time period of the outgoing authorities, led by Shehbaz Sharif, who can be shut the army, ended on Thursday. In Pakistan, as soon as a authorities’s time period ends, a caretaker have to be established to supervise the following normal elections.

Mr. Kakar’s appointment comes amid rising hypothesis that elections — as soon as anticipated to be held this fall — are prone to be delayed till subsequent spring on the earliest. It additionally follows a dramatic week in Pakistani politics.

Final Saturday, a former prime minister, Imran Khan, was arrested and sentenced to a few years in jail after being discovered responsible in a corruption case. The arrest was a climactic twist within the yearlong political showdown between the previous chief, who was ousted in April 2022 in a vote of no confidence, and the army, which he accused of orchestrating his downfall. Army leaders deny these claims.

Within the yr since Mr. Khan fell out with the army and left workplace, he proved that he was nonetheless a drive to be reckoned with in Pakistani politics. In rallies and marches throughout the nation, he drew 1000’s of his supporters to the streets, the place he assailed army leaders for the arduous grip on energy they held behind the scenes of the struggling democracy.

The army responded with a chilling crackdown on his supporters that has all however hollowed out his social gathering in latest months — a marketing campaign that culminated with the imprisonment of Mr. Khan final week and confirmed that even vigorous public defiance can’t dethrone Pakistan’s army.

Along with his conviction, Mr. Khan has been barred from operating for workplace for 5 years, officers stated final week. Mr. Khan is presently interesting his sentence in a heated authorized battle that may decide his — and the nation’s — political future. He’s going through a slew of different court docket circumstances that he has characterised as little greater than political revenge.

Mr. Kakar will probably be sworn in because the interim prime minister inside per week, officers stated.

Sometimes, elections should held inside 60 to 90 days of the dissolution of Parliament. However there are rising doubts that the nation will go to the polls by that deadline.

Final week, officers with the outgoing authorities introduced that new electoral boundaries primarily based on the newest census have to be drawn earlier than the nation might maintain its subsequent normal elections. That course of is predicted to take six months or extra.

On Tuesday, when requested in a neighborhood tv information section if elections can be held by the tip of the yr, the outgoing inside minister, Rana Sanaullah, stated: “In a simple reply: no.”

Delaying the elections would profit the army institution, analysts say, by giving extra time for the nation’s heated political local weather to chill off earlier than its 241 million residents head to the polls.

“If the election is delayed for an prolonged interval, it might result in political blowback that may complicate each the political and financial dimensions,” Mr. Rasool stated. “The destiny of Imran Khan will considerably affect the evolving political environment and public assist.”

The legacy of Mr. Sharif, the outgoing prime minister and the youthful brother of Nawaz Sharif, who served as prime minister thrice, seems combined, analysts stated.

Mr. Sharif claimed that his greatest achievement had been to avoid wasting the nation from financial default by efficiently negotiating a $3 billion bailout from the Worldwide Financial Fund. Nonetheless, he leaves in his wake a struggling financial system, excessive inflation and destruction from devastating floods final yr.

He additionally confronted a troublesome balancing act in making an attempt to maintain his disparate political coalition intact. Mr. Sharif’s picture was tarnished by his participating in questionable authorized and administrative maneuvers to resolve his household’s and allies’ court docket circumstances, analysts stated.

Critics say that his authorities did not safeguard civil liberties, facilitated the army’s affect over politics, and allowed a heavy-handed crackdown towards Mr. Khan’s social gathering, jailing its key leaders and 1000’s of its staff.

The interim prime minister, Mr. Kakar, is from one of many nation’s least populous provinces, Balochistan, and enjoys good assist throughout the nation’s political divide. Analysts say Mr. Kakar’s political and spiritual views lean towards the center-right, contributing to his credibility inside spiritual circles and religio-political events.

“He’s a seasoned political activist, is media savvy with wonderful public relations expertise,” stated Salman Javed, a director of the Islamabad-based Pak Afghan Youth Discussion board. “He has labored with virtually each social gathering in some capability.”

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