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Caretaker Pak govt on Friday
Afzal Khan writes from Islamabad

Pakistan ambassador to the UAE Ehsanullah Khan and senate chairman Chairman Mohammadmian Soomro and Ahsanullah Khan lead the pack shortlisted by President Pervez Musharraf to head the caretaker government as Prime Minister, media reports citing PML chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said on Wednesday.

The new government will be sworn in on Friday after the National Assembly is dissolved on Thursday and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz steps down along with his cabinet.

The reports said: “Musharraf has been working on a long list in consultation with aides, the PML chief and intelligence agencies. Ehsanullah is Musharraf’s old pal and is being tipped to fill the caretaker PM’s slot since long. His brother Irshadullah, a businessman, has also been in the run.”

The constitution provides for caretaker governments at the centre and provinces once the election schedule is announced. The election commission met on Wednesday and is likely to announce the schedule shortly. Those who will lead the government would not be qualified to contest elections but members of cabinet are not barred. Musharraf named a technocrat as chief minister of NWFP after dissolution of its assembly last month but the cabinet comprises active politicians belonging to the ruling coalition.

Shaukat Aziz held a farewell reception for top bureaucrats on Tuesday at his house. Foreign office staff also hosted a farewell on Wednesday for foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri.

The media reports also named several others in the run, including former deputy chairman of the Senate Khalilur Rehman, and former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan Ishrat Hussain.

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