Pakistan’s outgoing Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the Leader of the Opposition will hold talks again on Friday over the nomination for a caretaker premier to conduct the general elections later this year.A day after the dissolution of the National Assembly (NA), Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday met Opposition leader Raja Riaz to exchange a list of probable candidates for the coveted slot

The meeting was held at the Prime Minister’s House, said a statement.It was followed by a media briefing by Riaz at Parliament House during which he asserted that they were in no hurry to decide the name for the caretaker prime minister, the Dawn newspaper reported

It is also believed that the outgoing prime minister will announce the name of the caretaker premier on August 12, but the oath-taking ceremony would take place on August 14 evening or the next day, the paper said.Some in political circles believe that Shehbaz Sharif wants to stay in office till August 14 so he could attend the flag-hoisting ceremony on Independence Day, after which a caretaker prime minister will take an oath.

As per the Constitution, Shehbaz Sharif can act as the caretaker prime minister till the appointment of the head of the interim set-up.One of the reasons for the delay in deciding the name of the head of the interim set-up is believed to be Shehbaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s desire to see its own man in office.

As both sides held the names of nominees close to their chest, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani emerged as “one of the strongest contenders” for the post. He held separate meetings with Shehbaz Sharif and Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.A senior leader of the PML-N told Dawn that Sanjrani was “one of the strongest candidates”.

The Senate chairman can be the dark horse,” he said.Other possible contenders are former diplomat Jilal Abbas Jilani, former finance ministers Hafeez Sheikh and Ishaq Dar, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, ex-principal secretary Fawad Hassan Fawad and ex-justice Tassaduq Jilan.Riaz said no “imported” person will be made the head of the interim set-up.“We will not disclose the name of the caretaker premier before time,” he added.

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