Caretaker PM Anwar Kakar makes important revelations about General Elections
On Monday, Interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar emphasized that the authority to set a schedule for general elections rests with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), not the president. This comes amidst widespread speculation that Arif Alvi intends to announce an election date, creating uncertainty.
In the past 24 hours, several news outlets have reported Alvi's plans to announce an election date, citing Article 48 of the Constitution as his basis. However, legal experts argue that this depends on the prime minister's advice, and in the absence of such advice, the ECP has the mandate to set the date. Alvi reportedly sought advice from the interim law minister on this matter. Pressure from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is also a factor.
During an interview with Dunya TV, Kakar underscored that, following amendments to the Elections Act, it is solely the ECP's responsibility to announce the election date. He reiterated his government's commitment to facilitating the elections and expressed that they have no intention of extending their tenure. When asked about the PTI's participation in elections, Kakar stated there were no restrictions. Regarding PMLN leader Nawaz Sharif, he mentioned that Sharif, a three-time elected prime minister, would be treated according to the law upon his return to Pakistan. However, Kakar clarified that he had no plans to meet with leaders of political parties contesting the general elections.
Referring to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's anticipated visit to Pakistan, Kakar mentioned it would happen at a mutually agreed time when both sides were ready to announce investment projects. Kakar also emphasized Pakistan's strong connection to Kashmir and stressed that sports, including cricket, should remain apolitical.
He noted that issues related to cricket with India should only be addressed by cricket board officials. Discussing the ongoing crackdown on smuggling, Kakar affirmed its continuation to establish the state's authority, ensuring a smooth transition for the new government.
Regarding Pakistan's relations with Afghanistan, Kakar described them as multifaceted, with both nations engaging in discussions on trade, security, terrorism, and regional connectivity. He emphasized the acknowledgment that neighboring countries cannot be changed.
On the topic of resurgent terrorism, Kakar expressed regret over militants' increased capabilities due to advanced weaponry. Nevertheless, he reassured that terrorists would not be allowed to seize Pakistani territory, with security forces prepared to respond firmly against violence.