Islamabad: Mir Hazar Khan Khoso was on Monday sworn in as Pakistan's caretaker Prime Minister by President Asif Ali Zardari during a ceremony held at the presidency.
   
The ceremony was attended by former premiers Raja Pervez Ashraf and Yousuf Raza Gilani, leaders of political parties, top military officials, bureaucrats and diplomats. Khoso sat on the dais alongside Zardari and Ashraf during the brief ceremony held a day after the 84-year-old former judge was chosen by the Election Commission as the caretaker Prime Minister to conduct the general election scheduled for May 11.
   
After the Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition and a bipartisan parliamentary committee were unable to choose a caretaker premier after six days of deliberations, the matter was sent to the five-member Election Commission on Friday.
   
Following two days of discussions, Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G Ebrahim announced on Sunday Khoso had been chosen for the slot. Most political parties, including the main opposition PML-N, have welcomed Khoso's appointment. However, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan has expressed reservations about Khoso.
   
Khoso was among four candidates for the post of caretaker premier. While the PPP and its allies nominated Khoso and banker Ishrat Hussain, the PML-N proposed retired judge Nasir Aslam Zahid and Sindhi politician Rasool Baksh Palejo. A law graduate from Karachi University, Khoso earlier served as Chief Justice of both the Balochistan High Court and the Federal Shariah Court and as Acting Governor of Balochistan.

Khoso has said he intends to form a caretaker administration with about a dozen ministers. He has listed the law and order situation and the holding of free and fair polls as the top priorities of the interim government.

The Pakistan People's Party-led government completed its five-year term on March 16 and the general election to the 342-member National Assembly and four provincial assemblies will be held on May 11, marking the first democratic transition in the country's history which has seen several coups. The four Provincial Assemblies that will go to polls are Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.  Khoso refused to comment on the main opposition PML-N's demand that the four provincial Governors and several top officials should be replaced as they were political appointees. He said he would make a decision after studying the matter.

'My first priority is holding free and fair polls'

Pakistan's caretaker premier listed the fragile law and order situation and holding of free and fair elections as the top priorities of the new interim administration. "My first priority is holding free and fair polls," the 84-year-old former judge told the media shortly after he was chosen as the caretaker Prime Minister by the Election Commission this afternoon.
   
"The administration will try to ensure that the law and order situation is good (for the polls)," Khoso, who is known for honesty, said when he was asked to list his priorities. He described the upcoming elections, the law and order situation and Pakistan's financial position as the biggest challenges facing the interim set-up.
   
Khoso, a former Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court and Federal Shariah Court, was chosen as the caretaker premier by the Election Commission after the Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition and a bipartisan parliamentary committee was unable to forge consensus on the issue. He said he would meet all political leaders and assure them about holding free and fair elections. "Inshallah, the polls will be held on time. The law and order situation is bad…and I will work with the (caretaker provincial) Chief Ministers to improve law and order," he said.
   
In response to a question, Khoso said his interim cabinet would have about a dozen members. "The cabinet will have as many members as necessary. But it will not be very large. There will be about 12 to 13 members," he said. Khoso asserted that the polls would be held on time and the term of the caretaker set-up would not be extended under any circumstances. He said the army could be called in to support the civil administration during the polls if needed.
   
Responding to a question, he said the courts will decide on graft cases against top politicians, including a case against outgoing Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf for alleged corruption in setting up power projects.

JPN/Agencies

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Khoso sworn in as Pakistan's caretaker Prime Minister

Khoso sworn in as Pak caretaker PM

      

Islamabad:  Mir Hazar Khan Khoso was on Monday sworn in as Pakistan's caretaker Prime Minister by President Asif Ali Zardari during a ceremony held at the presidency.

      

The ceremony was attended by former premiers Raja Pervez Ashraf and Yousuf Raza Gilani, leaders of political parties, top military officials, bureaucrats and diplomats.

      

Khoso sat on the dais alongside Zardari and Ashraf during the brief ceremony held a day after the 84-year-old former judge was chosen by the Election Commission as the caretaker Prime Minister to conduct the general election scheduled for May 11.

      

After the Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition and a bipartisan parliamentary committee were unable to choose a caretaker premier after six days of deliberations, the matter was sent to the five-member Election Commission on Friday.

      

Following two days of discussions, Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G Ebrahim announced on Sunday Khoso had been chosen for the slot.

      

Most political parties, including the main opposition PML-N, have welcomed Khoso's appointment. However, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan has expressed reservations about Khoso.

      

Khoso was among four candidates for the post of caretaker premier. While the PPP and its allies nominated Khoso and banker Ishrat Hussain, the PML-N proposed retired judge Nasir Aslam Zahid and Sindhi politician Rasool Baksh Palejo.

      

A law graduate from Karachi University, Khoso earlier served as Chief Justice of both the Balochistan High Court and the Federal Shariah Court and as Acting Governor of Balochistan.

      

Khoso has said he intends to form a caretaker administration with about a dozen ministers. He has listed the law and order situation and the holding of free and fair polls as the top priorities of the interim government.