Former chief justice Nasirul Mulk was on Monday announced as the caretaker prime minister of Pakistan in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Leader of the Opposition Khursheed Shah.
The retired judge, who served as chief justice from July 6, 2014 till Aug. 16, 2015, had also earlier served as the acting chief election commissioner from Nov. 30, 2013 to July 6, 2014.
“This name was chosen on the basis of merit. All parties were taken into confidence and jointly decided on this name,” said Shah. P.M. Abbasi added: “This is a name that no one can point any fingers at.” The announcement follows weeks of deadlock between the government and the opposition, who had both fielded several names for the caretaker P.M. spot but had been unable to settle on a consensus candidate.
Dismissing criticism, P.M. Abbasi said all the names under consideration had been viable candidates but Mulk was the best option. “Today is a historic day for Pakistan and democracy,” he added. Shah, meanwhile, said his party hoped Mulk’s presence would ensure free and fair elections.
Mulk was well regarded during his tenure as chief justice, with analysts saying he was a good administrator. Originally from Mingora in Swat, Mulk used to teach law at Peshawar University. Among his prominent rulings was a contempt case against then-P.M. Yousaf Raza Gilani, in which he convicted and sentenced the chief executive to 30 seconds of punishment before forwarding the case of disqualification from office to the Election Commission of Pakistan.
The current government’s tenure will end on May 31. Power will then be handed over to the caretaker administration after Parliament is dissolved until a new government is formed following elections.