caretaker Prime Minister Kakar

Who is Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister Kakar, and what obstacles await him?

Caretaker Prime Minister: An Overview of Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar

Less than three months after the recent general elections, Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar, a former legislator, was nominated as Pakistan’s eighth caretaker prime minister on August 14th. At 52 years old, Kakar finds himself at a crucial juncture, responsible for steering a nation of over 240 million people, and it is anticipated that he will announce his caretaker cabinet in the coming days.

Who is the caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan?

Kakar is the youngest-ever caretaker prime minister in the country’s history and is relatively new to Pakistani politics. Hailing from a prominent Kakar tribe, he is a Pashtun by ethnicity and is associated with Balochistan, the largest and one of the least developed provinces of Pakistan, where he has faced opposition from nationalist groups over several decades.

Anwar ul Haq Kakar biography

Born in the provincial capital of Quetta, Kakar entered politics at the beginning of the century. Prior to that, he had worked as a spokesperson for the provincial government of Balochistan in 2013.

In 2018, Kakar was among the founders of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), a political party that emerged that year. Subsequently, he became a senator in the upper house of Pakistan’s parliament.

He is often seen as having close ties to Pakistan’s powerful military establishment. Critics have accused him of siding with the military in security and human rights matters, particularly concerning the Balochistan region.

Immediate Challenges for Anwar ul Haq Kakar

Pakistan is grappling with a multitude of challenges across various fronts. The signing of a $3 billion agreement with the International Monetary Fund in July has led to economic distress, and the country is barely avoiding default.

Countries like China, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have promised investment and short-term financial assistance in the coming days, with Pakistan expected to make payments exceeding $80 billion over the next four to five years.

The nation also faces the resurgence of violent attacks, especially in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

A day before Kakar took his oath of office, a militant group targeted a convoy of Chinese workers in the city of Gwadar, where a major port is being developed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Perhaps his most significant challenge is to navigate through months of ongoing political and constitutional crises and ensure transparent and timely elections according to the electoral schedule.

Upcoming Elections and Caretaker Responsibilities

Elections are scheduled for November. The provisional government has also approved the results of Pakistan’s population census in May. While the constitution states that elections should be held within 90 days of the assembly’s dissolution, it also stipulates that elections should be based on fresh population data, according to the latest census.

The election commission, tasked with conducting the elections, has stated that a minimum of four months is required to complete the new delimitations, implying that elections cannot be held this year, potentially leading to a constitutional crisis.

Kakar’s caretaker government will have to address the aftermath of former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s arrest in the beginning of this month on corruption charges. Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party were ousted by a vote of no confidence in April 2022.

Caretaker Government’s Powers to run the country

According to Pakistani law, the primary purpose of a caretaker setup is essential to ensure the smooth functioning of government operations and the holding of free and fair elections.

However, due to legislation passed by the provisional government in July, caretaker governments have been granted unprecedented powers, enabling them to make significant policy decisions.

This has led observers to question whether creating an extended interim government, rather than focusing on a transition to a caretaker setup, is the intended course of action.

Chaudhry, a former information minister, has said that according to Pakistani law, an “extended interim setup is in a dubious position” and that holding elections, rather than elongated governance, is the requirement. He further noted that due to the sheltering of the national establishment, this caretaker government could potentially be the most powerful.

Amid these circumstances, Kakar faces the challenge of balancing political, economic, and security dynamics while guiding the nation towards the upcoming elections and ensuring stability.

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