With KP CM’s sudden death, constitutional flaws come to light

6 min read

On Saturday morning, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa interim chief executive Azam Khan passed away unexpectedly in his home, putting to the fore the constitutional lacuna over the appointment of a new caretaker chief minister.

In January of this year, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government dissolved the provincial assembly after announcing that Azam would be the interim chief minister of the province.

It was stipulated in Article 224 of the Constitution that the governor of the province would be the one to approve the nomination of the caretaker chief minister after the speaker of the house and the leader of the opposition had passed on to him the name that had been agreed upon.

In accordance with Article 224-A, if no consensus can be reached on the name of the caretaker chief minister before the end of the month, the matter is referred to a provincial assembly committee composed of members from both sides of the political spectrum.

A caretaker chief minister is selected from the names referred to by the government and the opposition if the committee, too, is unable to reach a consensus. If the election commission is also unable to pick a candidate, then the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) picks the candidate.

In addition to the caretaker cabinet, the caretaker chief minister is also responsible for appointing the caretaker cabinet.

During the first week of January of this year, the then Chief Minister and leader of the opposition unanimously approved the nomination of Azam for the position of caretaker CM.

It was pointed out to the assembly committee and to the election commission that no action had been taken regarding this matter.

Experts of law report that the Constitution gives no indication as to how the new interim chief executive of the country would be appointed should the incumbent die or be unable to continue his or her duties for any other reason.

The Constitution clearly states that the caretaker prime minister or chief minister is to be appointed by the speaker of the parliament and the leader of the opposition in consensus with the leader of the house (the prime minister) and the leader of the opposition in the national assembly. In accordance with the Constitution, the provincial assemblies follow the same procedure in order to elect their members.

The Constitution of the DR Congo stipulates that, in case of non-consensus between the government and the opposition, it is solely the province’s assembly or the Executive Council of the People that must make the appointment.

A caretaker chief minister is appointed by the caretaker government without the involvement of the Senate or National Assembly.

Experts say that since the governor is the representative of the federation and is appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister, it is impossible for the governor to assume the responsibility of the caretaker chief minister.

As the chief minister or the cabinet of the province advises the governor, the governor acts accordingly.

Therefore, it cannot be assumed that the governor of the KP will serve as caretaker chief minister since he is obligated to assist the ECP in holding general elections as well as acting as caretaker chief minister.

As a result of the death of the caretaker chief minister, the provincial cabinet has also been dissolved, according to constitutional experts.

According to the experts, there is no section of the constitution that explicitly stipulates who will be appointed as caretaker chief minister in the absence of a provincial legislator, so it is highly likely that the matter will be decided by the Supreme Court.

You May Also Like

+ There are no comments

Add yours