Pakistan’s election commission has issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for former Prime Minister Imran Khan, the latest in a series of legal stumbling blocks for the cricketer-turned-politician.
Pakistani police arrested Imran Khan in May in connection with a corruption case that sparked deadly riots across the country. Within a few days, he was free on bond. It was unclear which charge the Election Commission’s order referred to or whether police would act on the warrant. Geo did not reveal its source.
Since his dismissal, Khan has faced a slew of charges in various organisations and tribunals, including bribery, murder, and sedition.
Last Monday, Pakistan’s interior minister announced that the government would initiate criminal procedures against Khan on grounds of disclosing public secrets in relation to diplomatic contacts between Washington and Islamabad.
Pakistan’s Finance Minister may be candidate for caretaker Finance Minister
Meanwhile, Pakistani Finance Minister Ishaq Dar may be one of the candidates to lead the incoming caretaker government, according to a spokesperson for Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party on Monday, in a move aimed at ensuring the continuation of economic reforms under a $3 billion IMF bailout programme.
The current legislature’s five-year term ends on Aug. 12, clearing the way for the next general election in October. According to the constitution, the president will designate the caretaker prime minister after consulting with the prime minister and the leader of the opposition in the departing National Assembly.
“He (Dar) could be among the candidates.” “As an economist, he could help implement IMF conditions and ensure fiscal discipline,” said Muhammad Zubair, a spokesperson for PMLN chief Nawaz Sharif.
Dar is a chartered accountant by training and has served in many governments during the 1990s, most notably as chairman of Pakistan’s Board of Investment, minister of commerce, and finance minister three times. His eldest son is married to Sharif’s daughter, making him the Sharif family’s most trusted aide.
Zubair stated that the PMLN wanted an economist as caretaker premier to ensure the implementation of a $3 billion short-term financial deal from the IMF that the South Asian nation clinched earlier this month, providing much-needed relief to its economy as it teeters on the verge of default.
“The agreement with the IMF is an economic prescription, which requires continuity of economic policies and necessary actions during the interim setup to keep the loan programme on track,” Zubair explained, explaining why it would be “practical” for the caretaker prime ministerial candidate to have prior experience running economic policy.
“We need fiscal discipline during the interim setup,” he noted, “because the IMF will release one of the tranches of the $3 billion loan following the economic review in the caretaker government.”
Zubair stated that his party would talk with other coalition partners in order to reach an agreement on the choice of the caretaker prime minister.
“The caretaker prime minister should be a consensus candidate for free and fair elections,” he continued.
Economists supported the concept of appointing someone with economic expertise as caretaker, but recommended that the candidate be “independent and neutral.”
According to Syed Atif Zafar, chief economist of Topline Securities, “if an economist is appointed as interim prime minister, he can ensure that IMF conditions such as currency exchange rate, monetary policy tightening, and energy prices are implemented.”
If a “independent and neutral” economist is nominated with the support of all stakeholders, he will have the support to implement necessary economic decisions and reforms during his or her three-month tenure, according to Zafar.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, probably Pakistan’s most popular party, has stated that having Dar head the caretaker government would preclude it from being impartial.
“If Ishaq Dar is appointed as caretaker prime minister, there will be no elections, only a selection,” PTI spokesman Farrukh Habib told the media.