ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s election commission announced on Thursday a fresh delimitation of constituencies on the basis of the latest census, making it almost certain that general elections will not be held within the stipulated 90 days, even as President Arif Alvi swore in a caretaker cabinet of 16 federal ministers, three advisers to the PM equivalent to minister and junior minister, and jailed separatist Yasin Malik’s wife, Mushaal Hussein Mullick, as one of four special advisers to the PM with rank equivalent to a junior minister.

Mushaal Hussein Mullick is to advise Pakistan’s caretaker PM on human rights and women’s empowerment. Yasin Malik was convicted by an NIA court in a terror funding case and is serving a life sentence in Tihar Jail. He last appeared in the Delhi high court via a video link on August 9 in connection with the NIA seeking the death penalty for him.
The poll panel, meanwhile, said it would release the final publication of delimitation of hundreds of federal and provincial constituencies on December 14 this year.

Under Pakistan’s constitution, a neutral caretaker government has to be appointed after dissolution of the National Assembly to hold general elections within 90 days, which in this case meant early November. Political analysts say the delay in conducting elections on time would allow the military, which already enjoys an enormous role in politics, to consolidate its grip on matters related to civilians.
The current interim setup has assumed greater importance after the decision not to hold elections this year. Kakar’s government will also have extra powers to make policy decisions on economic matters after changes to Pakistan’s election laws by the outgoing government of Shehbaz Sharif.
Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, a little-known politician believed to be close to the military, had been sworn in as caretaker PM a few days ago.
The federal ministers who took oath were former diplomat Jalil Abbas Jilani, economist Dr Shamshad Akhtar, Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) senator Sarfaraz Bugti, industrialist Gohar Ejaz, academic Dr Umar Saif, journalist Murtaza Solangi, former bureaucrat Shahid Ashraf Tarar, artist Jamal Shah, public health professional Dr Nadeem Jan, Aneeq Ahmed, Muhammad Ali, Ahmed Irfan, Lt Gen Syed Anwar Ali Haider (Retd), Sami Saeed, Madad Ali Sindhi and Khalil George.
Jilani was appointed foreign minister while Akhtar was picked to head the finance ministry of the cash-starved country. Solangi was made information minister. Bugti assumed the role of interior (home) minister and Haider was appointed defence minister. The event, which took place at President’s House in the evening, was attended by dignitaries, politicians and prominent figures from various sectors.

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