LAHORE - Despite the PPP desire to have a technocrat as caretaker prime minister, PML-N insists on the appointment of a former judge of the Supreme Court against this slot.

During the next week, PML-N will enter the final phase of consultation with the opposition parties to reach consensus on the name of caretaker prime minister. Nawaz Sharif has also given a go-ahead to Leader of the Opposition Ch Nisar Ali Khan in this regard. Reliable sources in the party confide that in the previously held two rounds of talks with the opposition parties, consensus has been on two former judges of the Supreme Court, Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid and Justice Ajmal Mian. In the third round, no differences are expected though MQM has also joined the opposition side.

Sources say PPP has recently contacted PML-N to convince it on the appointment of a technocrat also having expertise in financial matters and command at the international level for carrying out financial pacts and agreements. They say a world power also wants a financial expert as caretaker PM.

Some days back, PPP indirectly conveyed its desire to PML-N, but the latter did not approve the suggestion immediately and asked the former to first come up with the names it had in mind. PPP has not so far come up with any name though reports are rife in media that two former financial ministers are in the mind of the party for the caretaker PM.

According to the sources, PML-N has decided to go ahead with the names of the former judges as there is consensus of all the parties, including PTI, on them. It is believed that in the next week round of talks, the said two names will remain in the limelight.

PML-N is already alarmed by the last week developments, particularly, sudden decision of MQM to leave the ruling side and switch over to the opposition in Sindh. It firmly considers the move a political ploy played jointly by PPP and MQM to install a caretaker set-up of their own choice in that province. PML-N, as the sources say, also expects action replay of this move in KPK where PPP is leaving the ruling side to join the opposition to become a negotiator with the ANP government for the formation of a caretaker set-up.

PML-N is also preparing to counter this situation and bring an interim set-up in both the provinces which commands acceptance of all political parties. As such it has got another issue to deal with when it is already striving for the replacement of the provincial government and an acceptable caretaker prime minister.