On Monday, Interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar found himself subjected to a relentless barrage of tough questions from students, putting him in an uncomfortable position during what was meant to be an open dialogue session. The intended platform for discussion quickly transformed into a grueling interrogation, as students bombarded him with pointed inquiries. One student even questioned, “Why did you feel the need to come and address us amid the declining economy?”
Addressing students at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Kakar urged them to fearlessly explore different paths for their futures, emphasizing that it’s okay to make mistakes. However, the reality quickly set in when the students did not hold back from addressing sensitive issues, leaving him struggling to provide satisfactory answers.
In what was described by observers and social media users as a “weak explanation,” Kakar discussed the controversial 2021 Senate elections, which were marred by allegations of rigging. He claimed that Pakistan’s democracy was in a transitional phase, mentioning the rejection of seven votes in favor of the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s joint candidate, Yousuf Raza Gilani. He also acknowledged his involvement in these events and highlighted that Pakistan’s democratic system was still evolving, unlike the more established systems in European countries.
The prime minister emphasized the need for well-defined principles beyond political considerations to achieve their desired destination. Some students expressed disappointment with PM Kakar’s tardiness, interpreting it as a lack of respect for students’ time and their pursuit of knowledge.
Video clips of the exchange quickly went viral on social media platforms, with many applauding the students for their courage in confronting the leader with tough questions. The incident gained widespread attention, with social media users crediting former Prime Minister and PTI chief Imran Khan for inspiring the confidence and courage displayed by the young students. One user humorously downplayed the explanation given by the caretaker prime minister regarding rigged elections, stating, “The caretaker Prime Minister’s message to LUMS students: elections are always manipulated, fixed, or controlled. It’s a common occurrence, so don’t make a big fuss about it.”
Regarding delay in Punjab and K-P polls, the prime minister said that the matter did not pertain to the tenure of the interim set-up and referred to Article 254 of the Constitution which said that any delay or failure to comply with the legal requirement as to time, did not render an act invalid or unconstitutional because it happened late.
LUMS k bacho, you guys have done what journalists have failed to do. Thank you so much for standing in front of a biased system and caretaker PM. PROUD OF YOU ALL!!!!!
They grilled him.
Forget about #LUMS, see When Mr Prime Minister visited Oxford University & what happened.… pic.twitter.com/GxPHiuqCdD
— Hanif Saeed 🇵🇰 (@haneefsaeed) October 31, 2023
He said that the caretaker government was a product of a constitutional order after the former leader of the house and leader of the opposition in the previous National Assembly adopted a constitutional procedure and agreed upon his nomination.
He said that the previous parliament had passed a law in which the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was mandated to announce an election date.
“It is the mandate of the ECP and not of the Caretaker Prime Minister to set a date for the general elections,” he said, adding if he was mandated under the constitution, he would have given the same.
PM Kakar further said that the caretaker government would assist the ECP with the provision of finances and security for a smooth process and assured to fulfil their constitutional duty.
Afghan nationals repatriation
Replying to a question regarding an incident involving Afghan nationals, the caretaker prime minister said that he had already given direction to the relevant authorities of the interior ministry to ensure the dignity of the repatriated women and children as there might be vulnerable groups.
The prime minister said that Pakistan had entertained on its soil for decades those Afghans who had been registered as refugees and compared the treatment meted out to immigrants’ boats in the Mediterranean Sea.