Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar – a former senator and a leader of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) – Monday took oath as the eighth caretaker prime minister of Pakistan to see the country through to an election due in months. President Arif Alvi administered the oath to Kakar at the Aiwan-e-Sadar, with the former prime minister, Shehbaz Sharif, and ex-cabinet members in attendance. Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, and other high-ranking officials were also present on the occasion. After the oath-taking ceremony, Caretaker PM Kakar was presented with a guard of honour at the PM Office. Before Kakar, outgoing prime minister Shehbaz Sharif was also presented with a guard of honour as he left the PM Office. Kakar’s first task – as he takes charge of a country that has been wracked by political and economic instability for months – is to choose a cabinet to run the country as it heads into an election period that could last for months. Parliament was officially dissolved last week, with elections due within 90 days according to the constitution. Kakar was born in 1971 in Muslim Bagh, an area of the Killa Saifullah district of Balochistan, and received his primary education from St. Francis School in Quetta. The eighth caretaker prime minister belongs to the Kakar tribe of Pashtun ethnicity. The former senator later enrolled in Cadet College, Kohat. However, after his father’s demise, he returned to Quetta. Since then, he did a Master’s in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Balochistan. Kakar’s career began with teaching at a school in his native town. He joined politics on PML-Q’s ticket for a National Assembly seat in 2008 but later joined the PML-N. He then served as spokesman of then-Balochistan chief minister Sanaullah Zehri for almost 3 years – from 2013-15. He was later elected to Senate as an independent candidate in 2018. Soon after, he announced the formation of BAP with the help of Senator Syed Saeed Ahmed Hashmi. In the Senate, Kakar remained part of standing committees on finance and revenue, foreign affairs, and science and technology and also served as chairman of the Standing Committee for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources in the upper house. Earlier in the day, Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani had accepted the resignation of the newly appointed caretaker prime minister after he resigned from his upper house seat. A notification issued by the Senate Secretariat said “chairman Senate has been pleased to accept the resignation and consequently his seat has become vacant in terms of clause (1) of Article 64 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan with effect from 14th August, 2023”. The announcement by Kakar was made a day earlier as he not only relinquished his Senate seat but also resigned from his position within the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP). This decision is being interpreted as a deliberate move to underscore the impartiality of his new role. The circumstances surrounding Kakar’s appointment have not been devoid of controversy. The decision has already strained relations between the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M). Sardar Akhtar Mengal, the head of BNP-M, expressed reservations on X, formerly Twitter, regarding the PML-N’s selection of Kakar as the caretaker prime minister and the perceived reliance on establishment support to address the nation’s challenges. In a letter addressed to PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif, Mengal lamented the trend of politicians seeking the establishment’s involvement in resolving various issues. Last week, President Dr. Arif Alvi approved Kakar’s appointment as the country’s caretaker prime minister after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Raja Riaz agreed on his nomination. The premier and opposition leader finalised Kakar’s name during a meeting at the Prime Minister’s House earlier that day. They promptly signed and submitted the recommendation to the president for final endorsement, which President Alvi promptly granted under Article 224-1A of the Constitution.