­ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Leader of Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah meeting on evolving consensus on caretaker prime minister’s name remained inconclusive and now both would be meeting again on Tuesday(May 22) with the hope to land on the same page on the issue.

Interestingly, a week ago Leader of Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah, a seasoned politician, had said that consensus on caretaker prime minister was evolved and he would just announce it on May 15 after having a final meeting with the Prime Minister.

But later during the past week or so something went wrong somewhere and the fourth session between the two remained inconclusive and now they would be meeting again on Tuesday (May 22) in hope to come up with a consensus candidate for caretaker prime minister.

Lately, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had also said that the government would not give any name for the caretaker prime minister and the name proposed by Leader of Opposition for the slot would be accepted by the ruling PML-N, but now both sides were keeping a list of their candidates for the coveted slot of caretaker prime minister.

After the meeting with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, which remained brief, because the premier was to leave for Turkey to attend an extraordinary session of the OIC on the Palestine issue and it was decided that both would meet again.

Premier Abbasi suggested meeting on Sunday after his return from Istanbul but owing to health problems Khursheed Shah proposed a delay of couple of days and finally the meeting was slated for Tuesday.

After meeting the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah went to the chamber of Speaker National Assembly and stayed with him for some time. The matter pertaining to stretching the National Assembly session to next week and to convert it into a farewell session where members would deliver farewell speeches.

Some insiders in the PPP informed that the matter of FATA reforms also figured in the meeting and Leader of Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah stressed the need for FATA merger into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa forthwith and objected to the government’s plan of confining to reforms other than its immediate merger.

Leader of Opposition in a brief media chat after meeting Prime Minister and Speaker National Assembly said that he was not aware whether Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had taken into confidence the coalition partners on the exercise of appointing caretaker prime minister, adding that he had discussed the proposed names for the caretaker prime minister with the heads of other opposition parties.

He sounds optimistic about reaching at a consensus candidate for caretaker prime minister in next meeting and said that he would announce the name after evolving consensus with the Prime Minister. Sources in the government informed that initially the ruling PML-N decided not to give any name for the caretaker prime minister from government side but later changed its mind and now Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi would also be placing a list of candidates for consideration.

Sources further informed that ruling PML-N wanted such a person as caretaker prime minister who would ensure holding of elections in the given timeframe of 60 days from dissolution of the national and provincial assemblies in free, fair and transparent fashion.

Although Leader of Opposition denied discussing any names with Prime Minister so far but insiders in the party informed that a number of names were on the negotiation table and some new names were also added to it, some of whom are apolitical and not having any political background.

In last three meetings between the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Syed Khursheed Shah, names of former finance minister Dr Hafeez Pasha, former chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani and former governors of State Bank Dr Shamshad and Ishrat Hussain came up for consideration.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had also floated three names including former commerce minister Abdul Razzaq Dawood, former chief justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani and former governor State Bank Dr Ishrat Hussain. Abdul Razzaq Dawood served as commerce minister during Musharraf regime. He continued as the minister from 1999 to 2002.

Tassaduq Hussain Jillani served as the 21st Chief Justice of Pakistan from December 12, 2013 to July 5, 2014. Dr Ishrat Hussain was the State Bank governor from 1999 to 2006. In 2013, Pakistan People’s Party had also proposed Ishrat Hussain as caretaker PM but the PML-N had rejected the proposal.

Legal and constitutional experts said that both Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition have to pick a unanimous candidate to be installed as caretaker prime minister before the culmination of stipulated term of the National Assembly, so both have plenty of time as the National Assembly would be completing its mandated term on May 31.

Under the constitution, Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition are responsible for appointing caretaker prime minister with consensus and in case both of them would fail to evolve consensus then under Article 224A6 of the constitution both were required to forward two names each to an eight-member committee to be constituted by the Speaker National Assembly from outgoing National Assembly and Senate, comprising equal number of government and opposition from both houses of the Parliament to decide the matter with consensus within three days time.

In case the committee would also fail to evolve consensus then the matter would be referred to Election Commission of Pakistan and the Chief Election Commissioner in consultation with its members would pick anyone name from the four names forwarded to the committee by Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition within two days time.

Previously in 2013 the matter of caretaker prime minister was decided by the Election Commission of Pakistan as consensus could not be evolved between Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition and later the eight-member committee had also failed to land on one page.