ISLAMABAD, March 14 (Xinhua) -- The Pakistani government and the main opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have intensified talks on the appointment of a consensus caretaker Prime Minister ahead of the parliamentary elections.
The government will complete its five-year term on March 16 and according to the Constitution, new elections should be completed within two months.
Under the Constitutional provisions, a caretaker government will be put in place as the assemblies are dissolved to supervise the elections, scheduled to be held in May.
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and the PML-N are now engaged in consultations for the choice of a consensus candidate that will lead the caretaker government.
The opposition party has already proposed three names which include two former Supreme Court judges and a senior nationalist political leader from southern Sindh province.
The government has also proposed three names which included a former top court's judge, former finance minister, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Dr Eshrat Hussain.
The spokesman for the prime minister's office told the media that Ashraf has sent the names of their nominees in a letter to the opposition leader, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.
As only two days are left with the government, consultations have been intensified between the government and the opposition to reach a consensus on their final choice to lead the caretaker government.
In case both sides fail to agree on a common choice, the issue will be referred to the Chief Election Commissioner for a final decision. However, the official sources are saying that both the government and the opposition are likely to reach consensus since the remaining time is very short.
The Election Commission said it is ready to hold elections for the 342-member National Assembly, or Lower House of Parliament,and four provincial assemblies.
The Commission has already started the printing of the nomination papers for the candidates and the process would be completed shortly,officials said.
Secretary of Election Commission Ishtiaq Ahmed has said that the election schedule will be announced 10 days after the dissolution of the present assemblies.
He also said the election process is already in progress and the commission has notified the names of officers who will conduct elections.
After the recent terror attacks in Pakistan, the Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim has got assurance from the powerful army to ensure security in sensitive areas.
The army chief, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, has said that support of troops will be available in areas where they are required to augment the police in maintaining peace and order during the election period.
The Supreme Court has also thrown its full weight behind the Election Commission in the holding of free and transparent elections.
The Chief Justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, reiterated the judiciary's support on Thursday while hearing petitions on election reforms. He said that he will not allow anybody to derail the election process.
The Election Commission, the government, the army and the judiciary are unanimous in saying that elections will be held on time, dispelling speculations that a delay was in the offing because of the series of terror attacks in various parts of the country.