Don’t be taken in by the negative sound-bites. On the face of it, political forces seem to be struggling to succeed in the litmus test of managing the first transition from one popularly elected dispensation to another in the country’s history, and are fighting it out bitterly over all things major and minor.
However, there is more to it than meets the eye.
Amid feverish speculation on what will happen by the end of the month in the high-stakes confrontation between the government and the judiciary, which may see a second prime minister elected by parliament losing his job, the two largest political parties of the country are quietly but rapidly finalising an agreement.
The Express Tribune has it from credible sources that the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are close to working out a political deal that would result both in naming a consensus caretaker prime minister and finalisation of a date for election to be held before the end of the year.
There are two candidates being discussed for the all-important post of caretaker prime minister, on which both sides have been holding discussions over the past 10 days. There is the soft, back-up option in Abdullah Hussain Haroon, currently Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Nations. Then there is the second, more sensational candidate under serious consideration: none other than Asma Jahangir, the former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association and former chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
While no one from either the PPP or the PML-N is willing to officially come on record with this, unofficially key sources in the hierarchy of both parties confirm that talks on caretaker prime ministerial candidates and a date for elections are in advanced stages.
While refusing to either deny or confirm the names of Jahangir and Haroon as candidates, a member of the close circle of Sharif said, on the condition of anonymity advised patience for the short term. “Wait for two weeks and a lot will be clear, as well as some good news for all,” he said.
When approached, a source close to the presidency was equally assuring. “We have been talking [to PML-N] not for some days but for close to two months now and have whittled down some names that are generally agreeable to both [our parties],” he said. Again refusing to confirm or deny Jahangir and Haroon, the only additional information he offered was: “[The caretaker prime minister] will neither be from the PPP or PML-N, nor one who has been a member or leader of any other political party.”
The sources claim that Asma Jahangir is the current frontrunner not only because she is known for her vociferous stand for parliamentary supremacy and rule of law but, even more importantly, for her unambiguous stand against interference of the ‘establishment’ in the democratic process.
“In fact, the consensus [between PML-N and PPP] on Fakhruddin G Ebrahim [as the chief election commissioner] is closely linked to her (Asma Jahangir’s) candidacy under consideration by both parties,” a source in the PML-N said. “Both (Fakhruddin and Asma) have links to the legal fraternity, which respects them both, and which should come handy in dealing with any legal challenges that may be thrown by [Imran Khan’s] Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf during the tenure of the caretaker government to seek support of the judiciary in queering up the electoral pitch,” he added.
Sources in the PPP, while careful in not confirming or denying Jahangir’s candidacy, indirectly revealed why she would be a good choice for them. “We don’t want an interim prime minister who can be amenable to pressure from the [Supreme Court] judges to write a letter to the Swiss authorities during the caretaker period seeking investigations against the president,” he said. “We want a caretaker prime minister who has no agenda of their own and one who can work well with the chief election commissioner in focusing on the one-point agenda of holding a free, fair and impartial election,” he added.
Sources in both parties agreed that the litmus test of the maturity of political forces is at hand. “We may have our differences, and some really strong ones at that, but all we want are the freest, fairest and most credible elections in Pakistan’s history and these can only be if, for the first time in our history, we, the political forces, and not the establishment, decide and implement the rules of the game,” a source in the PPP said. “We’ve made a solid start with the joint nomination of the CEC. However, pressure [from the establishment] is mounting and we can’t waste much time now. The elections will be held before the end of the year for which we need caretakers who can restore faith in democracy and politics and be the best advertisement for an election with a high turnout,” he added.
Sources also confirmed that Jahangir recently met Sharif and a close aide of the president while Haroon is scheduled to meet both Sharif and President Zardari over the next few days. Both are likely to be agreed upon as joint candidates with Jahangir as the first choice and Haroon as the covering candidate.
Sources also said that PPP allies have already agreed to leave it to President Zardari to make the decision on the nomination of a caretaker prime minister on behalf of the coalition. They also said that neither the PPP nor the PML-N want to drag out the nomination like in the case of the CEC and both the Leader of the House Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and the Leader of the Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali would be meeting to put the official seal on “the political deal of the new millennium” in Pakistan “in two to three weeks’ time”.
“It’s going to be a win-win for all: the ruling parties, the opposition parties – both inside and outside parliament, and most of all for the people of Pakistan. The only loser will be the establishment, which usually steals the elections somewhere starting with the nomination of the caretaker prime minister and a malleable Election Commission. Not this time round,” added the source.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2012.
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There are poeple who do not like Independent Judiciary, or powerful judiciary. Keep in mind that is the only institution left which is taking a bold decissions against all odds. Cant you guys see the height of corruption ? Who is confronting head-on ?
Favoring Asma Jhangir is only those wanting to noose the judiciary and work as were doing couple of years back, like installed 'thaanedar' .
PMLn seems trapped with the wise strategy of PPP, to make them scared of PTI as well as opening of old cases against them, a typical PPP style of handling.
I am sure there are couple of dozen people out of 18 caror awaam for this position who are unlike Asma tilted toward PPP or again a buddy of president Mr. Haroon ??
i like doctor qader khan he is good for pakistan
Asama, does not suite to be caretaker PM, as she is pro ppp, and thats why govt has nominated her for this position. I agree with the writer's point of view Asma being capable to resist SC pressure for not writing letter against president.
I reject both candidates because both have their loyalties towards ppp,asma's father was an active politician of ppp,and haroon as an ammbasader to united nations tells it all .no more currupt faces please...i would reccomend shiekh rasheed or justice javed iqbal.
Asma Jehangir has been a Human Rights leader in The Islamic Republic of Pakistan and a lawyer by profession. Her credentials are no doubt unmatched and absolutely clean as a citizen of that country. Hussain Haroon too is an equally competant person to be considered for this position. Pakistan as a nation will be most fortunate to have a person like Asma Jehangir as their caretaker PM and preferabl...y if she were to be considered as the future Prime Minister of Pakistan then there can... be a probability of democracy gaining deeper roots within that Islamic Republic i.e. Pakistan. As a nation, Pakistan is passing through a constitutional upheaval and this is an extremely critical and trying phase for that nation; incidentally India's neighbour; and getting through this constitutional crisis is not an easy task for The Islamic Republic of Pakistan. To arrive at any conclusion is not possible at this point of time as they will be simply conjectures however, in this hour of crisis that Pakistan is going through lies the hidden oppurtunity for that country to establish democracy and fight the evils of terrorism and religious fundamentalism within their society so as to make Pakistan a liberal, islamic state if not a secular. The going is and will remain tough and only the tough shall get going within Pakistan for which they have to be prepared as a nation. The political parties within Pakistan have a major responsible role to play which they have to if they sincerely desire to see their nation becoming a successful democratic state. Instability, can eventually lead to yet another military coup-da-tes and this will be a major setback to the democratic forces within Pakistan.
Asma a bold, impartial and true Pakistani is the most appropriate name but I think some hidden hands will not support him
Asma Jehangir has been a Human Rights leader in The Islamic Republic of Pakistan and a lawyer by profession. Her credentials are no doubt unmatched and absolutely clean as a citizen of that country. Hussain Haroon too is an equally competant person to be considered for this position. Pakistan as a nation will be most fortunate to have a person like Asma Jehangir as their caretaker PM and preferably if she were to be considered as the future Prime Minister of Pakistan then there can... be a probability of democracy gaining deeper roots within that Islamic Republic i.e. Pakistan. As a nation, Pakistan is passing through a constitutional upheaval and this is an extremely critical and trying phase for that nation; incidentally India's neighbour; and getting through this constitutional crisis is not an easy task for The Islamic Republic of Pakistan. To arrive at any conclusion is not possible at this point of time as they will be simply conjectures however, in this hour of crisis that Pakistan is going through lies the hidden oppurtunity for that country to establish democracy and fight the evils of terrorism and religious fundamentalism within their society so as to make Pakistan a liberal, islamic state if not a secular. The going is and will remain tough and only the tough shall get going within Pakistan for which they have to be prepared as a nation. The political parties within Pakistan have a major responsible role to play which they have to if they sincerely desire to see their nation becoming a successful democratic state. Instability, can eventually lead to yet another military coup-da-tes and this will be a major setback to the democratic forces within Pakistan.
Great news, Asma Jahangir is best option.
EX PM Gillani is a good choice. besides he can be an interrim choice, as SC never barred him for that.
God bless Asma, she is real honest person and well deserve to be Prime minister.
Iron Lady Asma is the best choice
I will apperaciate the PPP which is going for strengthening the democracy like :-
1 - selection of Chief Election Commissioner 2 - and going for an acceptable caretaker PM
@Zaid Hamid: Love your humor.
This is excellent; for the very first time no establishment involvement in all this scene- The PPP on the very right mission, and PMLN supporting this for the sake of Democracy; This is really a great sight- Now I can understand what BB Shaheed has said that "Democracy is the best Revenge."
Hats off to political parties. Please act mature. Asma is an excellent choice.
If they can't agree on either one I can offer my name
Bother are not deserve for the position and not sincere to Pakistan however Dr. Ishrat Hussain seems to be good choice.
Asma is a good option for the people of Pakistan
I suggested 5/6 months back on twitter that Asma Jehangir should be Prime Minister of Pakistan. I am happy that my recommendation / comments has been taken up by our polity parties. It will be great change in Pakistan.
Although I believe that Election in Pakistan will be of no use for the downtrodden class as one corrupt political party will go and other corrupt political party will come. Anyhow as it is a democratic process, so it must continue but the winning political party should not be given more than six months to stop corruption in MPAs,MNAs, Ministers, Prime Minister and President, Federal secretries,and lower government officials.
NO asma is not acceptable she is controversial, she is pro PPP, currently advocating traitor haqqani, how can you expect her to be fair!!!
Asma is the most competent name for caretaker PM, But Imran would have lot of trouble, caz Asma & Establishment are in odds...
Deep state will bury Asma deeper...forget about her.
Both of them will not be accepted by the people of Pakistan.Besides PPP & PML (N) there are other political parties whose views should be taken into consideration.Both these candidates are considered as pro - PPP. PTI, Jamaat E Islami , JUI might have their reservations. PTI is emerging as a strong political party with a blemish free record & its support for the care taker P M can not be ignored. This decision if true will spread chaos and anarchy in Pakistan.
AQ Khan all the way. What we want is a nuclear stud at the moment who can nuke some sense into the system.
Asma is the lady with the highest character to speak the truth. She is extremely vocal and fair and if selected, would be the catalyst for the only transparent elections in Pakistan. She will not be a good selection for leftists but caretakers have to just complete the fair elections and then go which cannnot be done by anyone better than Asma. Asma plus Fakhruddin G Ibrahim combinations will be the bestest and the most honest combination ever made..
None of them will be the caretaker Prime Minister.
There are more people whose names are in consideration by the establishement as well as by the US.
@Umer: hadnt it been for that mans contribution in getting you nuclear ,your neighbouring countries would have run over you.start respecting true nation heroes unlike any pakistani!
Asma will sell pakistan, if she becomes pm
Asma Jehangir is great human rights lawyer.
But please remember, she is an ardent critic of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. She was also the lawyer of now convicted, Hussain Haqqani, for his involvement in the infamous "memogate". It would only go to show that these two parties are colluding against PTI. She recently wrote an opinion column in Dawn tacitly implying support for the new Contempt of Court Law. We all respect her, but her stance has always tilted towards PPP, she is not truly an independent. They are perhaps looking at her for her anti-establishment stance and understanding that she would not write the letter to Swiss government. Which goes to show that PPP and PML-N are just two sides of the same coin --- corrupt politicians who would work for status quo, NOT real change. PLEASE OPEN YOUR MINDS to the obvious state of affairs.
Folks, think of the strongest judiciary movement we had. Then recall how it got permanently broken for ever. Recall how it was achieved. Imagine bags full of money that Babar Awan was carrying distributing among the bar leaders to support Asma Jehangir. She won and the bar movement was never the same. She is on the same page with Zardari to bring down judiciary. She is till supporting executive. Please do not think Zardari is honest about election. He knows this proposal will create big dispute that will be used to delay the election. Remember this is the way Zardari work.
This summed it up for me. So free and fair elections are not a priority here but saving the President. And they have guts to call it democracy.
The choice is between Alif or Noon. They are not the right candidates for an interim set up. They are extroverts with a need to up stage others and get emotional. Mr. Haroon has resigined three time as UN rep. AJ does not like to be upstaged by Chief Justice Iftikhar. Need a more low key person but with integrity.
Why can not Zardari hold both the offices, after all he was a PM once?
mr haroon plz
Hussain Haroon has a history of comprimising on principles! His newspaper has always been subtle but more effective in de-stabilisation of democracy of Pakistan so anyone but him.
This is the first good news that I heard in the last 4 years after the nomination of CEC. But most importantly they must also table the Anti Corruption Bill which the Govt and Opposition both seem not willing to work on.
I am against any one non political person out of these parties which are going to contest elections and they have no any person or they do not show and prove honesty being a neutral set up holding the general elections through outsiders and they do not meet the capacity and to meet the trust being a political worker how the are allowed to contest the elections it is shame full that no one in all the parties to hold fair and free elections means these people are not trustworthy so they should not allow to participate in elections why they do not leave dishonesty so the country could not establish politically these parties have no such honest people shame how they will lead the country Sartaj hussain
I hope Asma is not leading the interim government. She has a questionable character. Hussein Haroon for sure.
So it is confirmed the PPP and PML are both crooks
Asma jahangir is same women who was advocate of Gilani in contempt case.............How she can be good choice.......dont know abouthussain haroon
@Noor: For a moment I was taken aback. Then realised we have developed such a fantastic sense of humour to survive all the murder and mayhem we witness daily. Thank you for making me laugh.
Surely there are better choices than named so far.
@naeem hussain: So what should we do ? if should not expect .
This is excellent news! Congratulations to both PPP and PML N for showing such maturity. Respect!
AJ wouldnt be the right choice, she would not let our premiere intel agency meddle into elections. If this deep state or what we call as ISI does not interfere then this means that either PPP or PMLN will win the elections,. And no sane Pakistani would want either of these parties to step up to the throne again... Every sitizen of Pakistan requests Kayani and ISI to step in yet once again but this time not bring your man in, but throw these corrupt seasonsed politicans out of the country..
Asma, Asma, Asma.
No choice can be better than that of Ms Asma Jahangir.
Sorry my all friends it was a quick message so that is why some spelling mistakes and again I would prefer Hussain Haroon ,and just think why people want to become a PM or etc in Pakistan ,because they want to become rich and collect money and I do not think so he does because he has everything and he is also a honest person ,as his father was and his grandfather Sir Abdullah Haroon .And his brother Hameed Haroon who is CEO Dawn .
Good to see that, as long as, they don't come at conditions of ridicule Judiciary
Asma is my choice though H. Haroon has nothing wrong but Asma is tough nautch for infiltrators...Good luck to both of them, democracy and obviously Pakistan and its people. Good work PPP and PML-N.
“We don’t want an interim prime minister who can be amenable to pressure from the [Supreme Court] judges to write a letter to the Swiss authorities during the caretaker period seeking investigations against the president,” The PPP sources said. Did ever occur to these people of the PPP that while the caretaker prime minister must be neutral which means he or she will have to obey the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, otherwise it will be another one who will be defending this corrupt man and negating the laws of the country.
We wanted someone with good reputation and integrity and my vote goes for Madam Asma Jehangir. She can handle both the judiciary and our tough guys. I hope it materializes.
Wonderful to see democracy asserting itself in Pakistan! All the very best to Pakistan and its people...
The real gain would be that the two main parties are able to agree amicably to take steps which would advance the cause of democracy in Pakistan.
In general "Females are more honest and less corrupt than men".
not realiable options..
Asma jahangir is a very controversial and biased figure therefore her name should not be in the list for consideration as caretaker P.M.
I hope Asma Jehangir is chosen. She will make sure that the elections are free and fair and there is going to be no chance of an extended caretaker setup
One worrying thought though - if Asma is the front-runner then this news can trigger a big one - egged on by you know who !
I think Veena Malik would be a better choice!
Good news for a change. Is it too good to be true!
asma is a bad choice ...
Only on the orders of America to complete their some kind of [email protected]:
@Sayed Baqar Ahsan What will he sell as a P.M
As per the track record of Asma Jehangir in upholding Human rights & Democracy is considered all Pakistani's can be well assured that the elections will be free & fair without any favour or prejudice
Both would be acceptable to America..........
Both Asma and Hussain Haroon make for excellent choices. Any third choice would be out of place and not on the same class and level.
Given that Fakharuddin G. Ebrahim is the CEC, Pakistan is very very lucky.
My view is the Asma, if she agrees, be made the interim PM and Hussain Haroon be given greater powers to play a fantastic role in the UN.
Let Asma form the small Cabinet with very competent persons without anyone telling her what to do, and let us, all Pakistanis, proceed to the next elected government a happier and stronger people.
Suddenly I see hope for Pakistan. Great news.
@Noor: Dr. Qadeer just said that if he becomes caretaker PM his focus will be law and order and economy. he clearly does not understand one point job description of caretaken PM i.e. to hold free and fair elections, and go home.
In case political parties decide for Asma and she accepts the role as Caretaker PM then all rumors for extended carettaker set up will be ended.Same can be expected from Hussein Haroon. After decision of Honorable Fakhruddin G Ebrahim this decision will be a land mark decision for political and democratic history of Pakistan
Make me the PM and then see how i will bring Tsunami :D
Asma as a PM? Awsome!
Hats off to Nawaz Sharif & Asif Zardari if either of these two candidates are selected! This surely is excellent news for democracy & people of Pakistan. Once again congratulations to Mian Nawaz Sharif & President Asif Zardari! Although personally I like Asma J for her boldness, honesty & standing up to establishment pressures.
Asma is best option this post as PM in care taker government. if she selected i am sure that she insure the democratic values during interim government.best of luck Asma
The best news to come out of Pakistan after the appointment of the CEC. Seems like things are moving along, albeit at a slow pace, but surely are moving. Would vote for either of the two any day. As first choice, AJ would be my preferred candidate. Well done PPP and PML-N this is the way it is supposed to work!
Asma will be politicised. She shouldnt do it.
Both seem like great choices - internationally respected, intelligent and with hardly any corruption accusations against them. Asma seems like the tougher option and she'll probably slant towards the PPP's ideals, while Mr Hussain is more neutral and safe, but either way it's good to see someone apart from the usual suspects being named.
A Q KHAN would be an idle choice if no out side dictate.
Asma Jehengir may not be acceptable to theocrats and the powerful 'A' for her open denouncing against them and support for human rights..
AJ, no way. she is a confused lady.
Let's go for Haroon! Lawyers are biased sometimes.
@Noor: Are you kidding me? Asma Jahangir is more controversial than a nuclear smuggler?
Zaid Hamid and Ahmed Quraishi were hospitalized after they got heart attack hearing this news.
Asma Jahangir is the better candidate by a long distance.
I would prepare Hussain Haroon ,and I am not admiring front of him or people .I want to say our people take look a the history of Haroon Family then you can realize what they did and what they have been doing .
Asma Jehangir is highly controversial. Look no further the way she conducted herself in the memogate saga. a bad choice..
All credit to Mian sahib. He has taken all the criticism bravely and stuck to his guns. He is one changed man; and the change has been for the good of Pakistan.
Neither of them. AQ Khan is a better choice.
None better than Asma Jahangir!!!
I don’t recall Asma selling our nuclear secrets to foreign countries.
Under the circumstances, I have no particular object to Hussain Haroon but would definitely prefer Asma Jahangir. Her views on two institutions which have hurt Pakistan the most, Judiciary & Army, are strong & clear. Zardari has managed consensus on Chief Election Commissioner (a man of impeccable integrity unlike PCO & Dual PCO Judges). Now, if he manages a neutral caretaker Prime Minister, we must be large hearted enough to salute his statesmanship.
Amazing news from Pakistan. I sincerely hope, it turns out to be true. Congratulations to all my Pakistani friends.
Asma Jahabhir is too close to PPP and has made some rather controversial controversial comments of late .
Reason for naming Asama Jhanghir could be to save PPP and PMLN from PTI
Supreme Court Bar Association’s former president Asma Jahangir said that the political parties like Pakistan Tehreek e insaf (PTI) are hatching a conspiracy against the Supreme Court and democracy in Pakistan.
its really positive sign that both big political parties are talking positively.smooth power transition will b a big boost for pakistan and it will also prove to the world that pakistanies also know to live with democracy.
Asma all the way. Character and independence dos count. Kudos to the parliament and elected leaders of Pakistan. A sensible and selfless decision to keep the process going.
Asma Jehangir is good as she is favourite of America also and confronts judiciary as and when required by higher ups. PML-N is doomed if it elects Asma Jehangir.
PML(N) is playing a positive role for the smooth transition of democracy. However, Asma Jehangir does not seem to be right choice as she has soft corner to PPP (Ref Memogate). A caretaker Prime Minister should be an honest, capable, dignified and has no political affiliations.
From President of Sind Club to Deputy Prime Minister of Pakistan... Nice ;)
I would take Hussain Haroon over anybody else any day . He is highly intelligent very patriotic Pakistani guy.
Sincerely hope this works out for good of Pakistan!!
I seriously doubt the authenticity od this item. How PML-N can agree on Asema Jehangeer? She has been openly criticizing the conduct of higher judiciary and sometimes passed extremely hars comments towards them. Abdallah Haroon not only dislikes Shareef Bros., but he is very close personal friend of President Zardari.
politics is game of nerves, when u have a pressure from north, u tries to release some air from south. media as the fourth power pillar is playing her role either pressurizing from north or releasing air from south. Government had plans to use dezi cutters or B-4 after heroic power victory at senate elections yet post senate election scenario restricted her and finally she has to announce a consensus candidate as election commissioner. now the next step is announcement of elections and a reasonably balanced interim set-up along with a consensus candidate for premiership. this news may be a media gimmicks or tackling of courts yet this is the only viable solution. sooner or later, current PPP has to do it and its delay will be damaging for PPP alone. among political parties, except Q-league everyone is ready for elections and its better for PPP, not to repeat reinstatement of judiciary example.
It is too good to be true.Pakistan has been waiting for such a leadership to emerge through elections but unfortunately the same parties, now reportedly supporting them,have been too family and self centered to claim them at the highest level.But the contribution by such a learned leadership to nation building would be suspect if they are inducted only as temporary minders and not guiding spirits.Give them some time to clean the stable before democracy is continued to be tested as the only means of progress of Pakistan.
There is no one in Pakistan I trust more than Asma Jahangir. A patriotic woman with exceptional integrity. Here's hoping she will serve us as the caretaker PM! Regards, Rehan
Ms. Asma Jehangir and M r. Hussain Haroon are two people with an impeccable record of openhanded dealings. Both have respectability and acceptability in Pakistan, hopefully.
Hussain Haroon has exposure on the international fora and literary circles. Asma Jehangir has exposure on the international and legal fora.
In the end count, Ms. Jehangir will have a propensity towards the PPP, whereas Mr. Haroon will be a man who knows how to deal with it all, hopefully.
Salams to poor Pakistan for its continuing predicament. (Remember the late Mr. Malik Meraj Khalid. What a fine man).
These two names. You must be kidding.
Abdullah H Haroon will b interim PM bcz he belongs to the Haroon family which was near to esatb in past. yousuf and Mehmood Haroon, two famous brothers, were part of many unconstitutional and interim setups.
Asma Jahangir is a good choice.
Asma Jahangir would be an ideal person as care taker PM. She is liberal, fights for the right of parliament and speaks for the rights of women.
Excellent choice. If either is appointed to head the caretaker government, it would result in the most free and fair election in the history of Pakistan. Best wishes to the people of Pakistan.
The names I being whispered are: Ishrat Hussain Shaukat Tareen Mohamad Mian Soomro
I would go for Asma. She is a brave woman.
Both are excellent choices but Asma is better. She can tame judiciary to some extent.
Better choice is Dr abdul qadeer or samar mubarakmand not controversial like asma jahangir
This is great news for every Pakistani and if political class show some maturity and openness, the day is not far away when Pakistan would become a true welfare and democratic state.