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Pakistan names former chief justice Nasir-ul-Mulk as interim PM to oversee elections

The interim administration in Pakistan usually does not make any major decisions until the new government is elected.

world Updated: May 28, 2018 22:52 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Pakistan,Former Pakistan chief Justice,Nasir Ul Mulk
Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi made the announcement over the appointment of Nasir Ul Mulk as interim PM on Monday.(AFP File Photo)

Former chief justice Nasir-ul-Mulk has been named Pakistan’s caretaker prime minister to oversee the general election scheduled for July 25.

“No Pakistani can lift a finger (against) such a name,” outgoing Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told reporters on Monday, seated next to opposition leader Syed Khurshid Shah.

The announcement ended weeks of wrangling between Abbasi’s ruling PML-N party and Shah’s Pakistan People’s Party.

“No one’s name was discarded,” Shah told the media. “We have chosen his name on the basis of merit. We took our parties into confidence and decided upon this name. Every name was discussed, and this name was decided upon. It’s a name no one can point fingers at.”

Nasir-ul-Mulk took oath as the 22nd chief justice in 2014. He belongs to Mingora town in Swat. His father Kamran Khan was a businessman known for his philanthropic work in the region.

Prior to joining the bench, Mulk taught at the Khyber Law College under Peshawar University. He is remembered for the way he conducted a contempt case against then prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. He convicted the chief executive for 30 seconds on a charge of contempt while maintaining the dignity and honour of the court, and left the issue of Gilani’s disqualification to the Election Commission and then Speaker of the National Assembly, Fehmida Mirza.

Mulk is one of the seven judges who signed a restraining order on November 3, 2007, when military ruler Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency and forcibly sent the judges home. Mulk later rejoined the judiciary on September 20, 2008, when he took a fresh oath as a judge of the Supreme Court with his seniority intact.

He dissented from a majority judgement while deciding an appeal filed by Mukhtaran Mai for enhancing the sentence of her rapists and against their acquittal. He partially accepted Mai’s appeal by setting aside the high court’s acquittal of the accused.

Local media reported that while hearing the cases of “missing persons” or victims of enforced disappearances, Mulk had always stood firm and, as a result, a number of the missing persons had resurfaced.

Mulk, who also served as interim chief of the Election Commission, will head a technocratic government until elections as the current government and Parliament will be dissolved on Thursday.

First Published: May 28, 2018 13:49 IST