Islamabad, 25th July, 2023 (GNP): Raja Riaz, the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, announced on Tuesday that he does not support the possible candidacy of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for the role of caretaker Prime Minister. Furthermore, Riaz downplayed the necessity for immediate elections in the country.
With the National Assembly’s tenure set to expire on August 12, there are ongoing discussions among government members regarding details of an interim setup. The country will go into elections within 90 days if the government dissolves before the completion of the National Assembly’s term. If the assembly completes its tenure, the Election Commission of Pakistan must hold polls within the subsequent 60 days.
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Rumors about Dar’s candidacy for the caretaker Prime Minister’s role were widespread earlier this week. However, Dar’s party, PML-N, has since appeared to retract the idea, apparently due to its rejection by both its ally, PPP, and the opposition PTI.
Riaz, despite having separated ties with PTI and planning to contest the next elections on PML-N’s ticket, also disapproved of the idea of Dar leading the interim set-up. He expressed concerns over the potential validity of general polls if Dar becomes the caretaker PM.
Riaz highlighted the need for consultations regarding the nominee for the caretaker Prime Minister, pointing to the meetings with other opposition leaders scheduled for later in the week. “An economist should be the caretaker Prime Minister,” he suggested.
While discussing the urgency for elections, Riaz dismissed their immediate necessity, stating, “Elections are not necessary in the country.” He added, “The problems of the country and the people are more important. The solution to the challenges faced at this time is most important.”
Riaz was appointed as the opposition leader in May 2022 after being nominated by the National Assembly’s Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf. He was a member of a PTI dissident group that decided to remain in the National Assembly when other party MNAs had resigned following the orders of the party chairman.