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Dr Ishrat Hussain likely to be the next Care Taker Prime Minister of Pakistan

As the government and the opposition have expressed reservations on many candidates proposed by them for the key post of caretaker Prime Minister, but sources close to the developments said consensus is developing on the name of Dr. Ishrat Hussain which was proposed by the ruling party. No party has raised any serious question on the nomination of Ishrat Hussain.

It is learnt. PML (N) has also started showing flexibility on his candidature, sources said. In view of economic melt- down, Dr. Ishrat Hussain, an economist and banker is believed to be acceptable to all stakeholders as he has potential to put a stop on economic slide down. He is a technocrat and non- controversial figure.

He is a right person to play a role of a neutral referee in the general elections, sources in both the parties said. His services to the nation as Governor State Bank of Pakistan and Chairman of Pay and Pension Committee are laudable. His recommendations to remove anomalies in the pay structure of public service employees and administrative reforms were welcomed by all segments of society.

Meanwhile, the federal government has voiced reservations on the name of Justice (Retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid and Rasool Bux Palejo nominated by PML-N for the post of caretaker prime minister.

Talking to media persons here, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said that Nasir Aslam Zahid has an anti-PPP background. “President Asif Ali Zardari was implicated in the murder of Justice Nizam, brother-in-law of Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid, during his jail term,” he said.

He also rejected Rasool Bux Palejo’s nomination, saying Palejo’s son Latif Palejo was contesting and making alliance against the PPPP in Sindh. Kaira again termed the PML-N’s decision to propose names of Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid and Rasool Bux Palejo as a joke. He said the PPP was astonished that opposition leader in National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar had made reservations over two names given by the PPP led government for caretaker prime minister.The outgoing information minister said that PPP would not withdraw name of Dr Ishrat and more names for caretaker PM could be proposed.

Kaira further said if there was no consensus on the given names of the nominees, then new names could also be considered. He said the Election Commission of Pakistan should scrutinise the relationships of both nominees with the PPP before reaching any decision.

Kaira said there was no ‘deadlock’ regarding caretaker premier and assured that the matter would be resolved according to constitutional provisions.The opposition has already rejected the government’s suggestions for caretaker premier, warning that the consultation process “can only move forward if the government withdraws all its nominees”.The government had picked Dr Ishrat Hussain , Justice (Retd) Mir Hazar Khan Khoso and Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh as its nominees for caretaker prime minister.

Kaira said Dr Hafeez Sheikh was still in the race as contender for interim prime minister.

Dr Ishrat started his career in 1964 in the civil service of Pakistan so he has a fair grasp of how the bureaucracy works. He has worked at the World Bank for two decades between 1979 and 1999 and so is well-versed in the language of Washington-based international lenders. He has a PhD in economics from Boston University, which lends him intellectual credibility.

Dr. Ishrat was the Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan’s Central bank from 2 December 1999 to 1 December 2005. He also lead the National Commission for Government Reforms for two years from May 2006.  He is currently the dean of IBA, Karachi.

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