The senator from the south-western Balochistan province was chosen following two-day meetings between PM Shehbaz Sharif and Raja Riaz, the putative leader of opposition in the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly.
“The Prime Minister and leader of the opposition jointly signed the advice and it was sent to the president,” a statement from Shehbaz’s office read. President Arif Alvi later approved the appointment.
Kakar’s appointment signifies that the powerful military establishment had picked their man to head the interim setup. It also indicates that top generals would continue to run the country’s political theatre from behind the scenes, and that jailed former PM Imran Khan’s legal and political woes were unlikely to end soon.
Under Pakistan’s Constitution, a caretaker government oversees general elections, which must be held within 90 days of the dissolution of the parliament’s lower house. In this case, that would have meant November. But observers rule out elections in this year due to a variety of factors and say the interim setup would remain in power for at least next seven months, or even longer.
Sharif thanked Riaz for his “cooperation” in the talks and “his excellent leadership of opposition during the past 16 months”. The senator reciprocated, saying PM Shehbaz had “agreed to his choice (Kakkar)”. “I had given this name (Kakar) and the PM has consented,” Riaz told reporters, adding Kakar would take oath on Sunday.
Elected to the National Assembly in 2018 on a ticket of Imran’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Riaz had ditched his party chief by supporting the no-trust vote against him in April 2022 that led to the ex-cricketer’s exit as PM.
As leader of opposition, Riaz had publicly announced he would contest the next election on the PM Shehbaz-led Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) platform. Riaz is also considered close to PML-N’s exiled chief Nawaz Sharif.