Pakistan parliament dissolved, caretaker setup process set to begin

President of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi on Aug. 10 consented to the dissolution of the National Assembly (NA) on the recommendation of the outgoing Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, concluding the current government’s tenure.

The Aiwan-i-Sadr issued a notification detailing the dissolution per Article 58 of the Constitution. “The president dissolved the National Assembly on the advice of the prime minister under Article 58-1 of the Constitution,” the President’s Office said in an official statement.

As per Article 58, if the president doesn’t dissolve the assembly within 48 hours after the PM’s recommendation, the assembly is automatically dissolved.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Murtaza Javed Abbasi affirmed that the elected government’s five-year term had concluded, with the summary for dissolution forwarded under Article 58.

The summary sought the constitution of an interim government under Article 224, with a notification from the parliamentary affairs ministry to be issued upon approval and caretaker government formation. During the final federal cabinet meeting, PM Shehbaz garnered coalition partners’ support for the caretaker government appointment. He thanked cabinet members for their contributions during the 16-month tenure.

This decision followed the government’s announcement that assemblies would be dissolved ahead of the mandated period, with elections slated within 90 days. However, concerns about election delays surfaced due to the latest census. Rana Sanaullah, the Interior Minister, suggested elections might be postponed until March next year due to constituency delimitations after the 2023 census notification.

Appointment of Interim PM

As the assembly has been dissolved, PM Shehbaz and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly now have three days, as stipulated by the Constitution, to agree on a name for the interim prime minister. Failing consensus, a committee led by the NA speaker will decide within three days. If the committee also fails, the Election Commission of Pakistan will have two days to make the final call.

PM Shehbaz shared plans to meet opposition leader Raja Riaz for consultations on the interim premier’s appointment, adhering to constitutional obligations. Riaz confirmed consultations were underway and three names for the interim prime minister were almost finalised. These nominees were from non-political backgrounds, and Riaz stated he could consider a politician if suggested by the government.

Imran Khan seeks release from Prison

Meanwhile, PTI Chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was convicted by an Islamabad court on Saturday of concealing assets and was sentenced to three years in prison, Khan has appealed the conviction.

The Islamabad High Court, where Khan’s appeal is being considered, has indicated that it requires input from the government and Pakistan’s election commission before deciding whether to overturn the conviction and release Khan. Last year, the election commission disqualified Khan from public office for five years, accusing him of selling state gifts unlawfully and hiding assets during his tenure as premier. Khan received notification of his disqualification once again on Tuesday, following his sentencing.

The court adjourned on Wednesday without scheduling a future hearing date, leaving Khan’s legal team uncertain about the next steps.

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