March 16 marks the dissolution of the National Assembly, which will kick off the first step of finalising a name for caretaker prime minister. According to the Constitution, the following procedure will be followed:
The prime minister and leader of the opposition will have to, with consensus, pick one person from the six nominees (three each from the government and opposition) as caretaker PM within three days of the dissolution of the National Assembly (In this case, by March 19).
If both leaders are unable to reach consensus within the stipulated time, they shall forward two nominees each to a committee that will immediately be constituted by the speaker of the National Assembly. This committee will consist of eight members of the outgoing National Assembly, or the Senate, or both, with equal representation from the treasury and opposition, to be nominated by the prime minister and opposition leader respectively.
The committee will finalise the name of a caretaker PM within three days of the referral of the matter to it.
If the committee fails to agree on one name within the given time, the names of the nominees shall be referred to the Election Commission of Pakistan for a final decision within two days. The ECP committee will comprise the Chief Election Commissioner and four other members of the ECP.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 15th, 2013.