Senator Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar named Pakistan’s new caretaker prime minister

Senator Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has been appointed as Pakistan’s new caretaker prime minister to lead the country and hold national elections scheduled to be held in November.

Opposition leader Raja Riaz Ahmad named Kakar as caretaker prime minister following a meeting with outgoing prime minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday, according to an official statement.

“We first agreed that whoever should be prime minister, he should be from a smaller province so smaller provinces’ grievances should be addressed,” said Riaz.

Kakar is from Pakistan’s least-populous province, Balochistan. He was elected to the upper house in 2018 on an independent ticket, according to the Senate website.

Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi approved the appointment of Senator Kakar as the caretaker prime minister. He signed the advice soon after it was dispatched for his approval.

In a tweet on Saturday, Senator and former journalist Mushahid Hussain Sayed congratulated Kakar on becoming Pakistan’s first Pahhtun prime minister and called him “a ‘thinking’ Senator from Balochistan.”

Pakistan has been in political turmoil since former prime minister Imran Khan was dismissed by a no-confidence vote in April 2022. Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Tehrik-e Insaf (PTI) party was jailed last weekend for three years for graft.

Khan was briefly detained in Islamabad in connection with the same case in May. His arrest, back then, sparked widespread protests and prompted a crackdown that saw almost all of his party’s top leadership arrested.

The three-year jail sentence disqualifies Khan from taking part in elections that are scheduled to be held before the end of the year. Some officials, however, already said the elections will be delayed until next year.

Asked if a vote would take place this year, interior minister Rana Sanaullah said this week, “An absolutely straightforward answer — No.”

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