Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Thursday rubbished speculation over Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader Nawaz Sharif’s return to Pakistan resulting from a “deal” with the establishment, maintaining the former prime minister will face courts upon his homecoming.
“The caretaker government has no soft corner for PMLN or any other political party,” he told online portal World Echo News in an interview. “How can a caretaker government strike such a deal?” he questioned, recalling that Sharif had left the country on court orders under the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government, and not any caretaker setup.
If Sharif decides to return to participate in politics, he continued, he would first need to seek legal remedies to the cases pending against him—and this also applied to other politicians such as Imran Khan and PPP’s Asif Ali Zardari.
Sharif, in self-exile in London since 2019 when his 7-year jail sentence was suspended on medical grounds, is scheduled to return to Pakistan on Oct. 21. In the time since his exit, he has been declared a proclaimed offender in the Al Azizia and Avenfield graft cases.
Lamenting that Pakistan had become a battleground for political positions, Kakar also negated a question on whether the present government could be compared to the situation in 1993, when then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif and then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan were both forced to resign by then army chief General (retd.) Waheed Kakar ahead of elections. “This comparison is apples and oranges,” he said. “It is out of context because in our case, the stint of the normal Parliament led to its retirement and we are part of the constitutional continuation where leaders of the House and the Opposition agreed upon my name,” he said, adding there had been no interference from any institution.
To a question on general elections, Kakar reiterated that he did not believe they would be delayed beyond the end of January. He said all necessary security and administrative arrangements were in place, adding the caretaker government was working with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to finalize all required measures.
Responding to a query on Pakistan’s economic situation, the interim premier noted the country was in the midst of resurgence of the rupee, which has regained nearly Rs. 40 against the U.S. dollar over the past month. He emphasized that sustaining the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SFIC) would lead to sustainability, adding it was untrue to claim the Army had taken over the mining sector through it.
“The Army’s role is a stop-gap arrangement to run the matters and at SFIC, it is providing impetus in the facilitation process,” he said.
To a question on Pakistan potentially recognizing Israel, Kakar said this was not under consideration. Pakistan considers Israel an “oppressor,” he said, and stands with the rights of Palestinians to their existence and return to their land.