Justice (retd) Arshad Hussain Shah was appointed as the caretaker chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Sunday, following the death of former CM Azam Khan a day prior.
He is expected to take oath later today amid contentions over the appointment.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) provincial chapter said it intends to approach the courts against the interim CM’s appointment, reported Express News.
Speaking to the media on Sunday, PTI leader and former K-P MPA Zahir Shah Toru said that the appointment of the interim chief minister by Khan and Durrani was unacceptable as neither leader currently holds the position of CM or opposition leader.
The province had plunged into a constitutional crisis on Saturday as the cabinet stood dissolved after the demise of former caretaker CM Azam Khan, who succumbed to ill health.
The governance of the province was temporarily handed over to Governor Haji Ghulam Ali, who wrote to former CM Mahmood Khan – a constitutional consultee in the initial appointment of the interim CM – and opposition leader Akram Khan Durrani, inviting them to begin consultation under Article 224 (1A) of the Constitution for the next CM’s appointment.
Read Interim K-P cabinet dissolved after CM Azam’s demise
A meeting was subsequently held between Khan and Durrani after which the summary proposing Justice (retd) Shah’s name was forwarded to the governor, who later approved it.
Justice (retd) Shah has previously served as the chief justice of the Supreme Appellate Court Gilgit-Baltistan and was the law minister in the deceased CM’s interim cabinet.
According to Express NewsCM Azam Khan’s cabinet will be reinstated under Justice (retd) Shah with the same members serving as ministers, special advisers and deputy ministers.
The process of appointing a new caretaker chief minister had raised legal complexities as it is the first instance of such a case.
According to sources within the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the responsibility of appointing the new caretaker chief minister falls on either the former chief minister or the opposition leader.
The urgency to make this appointment stemmed from the constitutional significance of the position as the head of the province.
In the event of a disagreement, the matter would have been escalated to the ECP for resolution.
Former advocate general Shumail Ahmad Butt explained that Article 224A of the Constitution dictated the joint appointment of the caretaker chief minister by the CM and the opposition leader.
He elaborated that the Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition must reach an agreement within three days. In case of a deadlock in the decision-making process, the matter will then be referred to a committee or directly to the ECP.
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However, Butt highlighted a constitutional nuance, saying that the Constitution provided a procedure for appointing only one caretaker chief minister and not successive appointments.
On the other hand, some experts had wondered whether they would see former CM Mahmood Khan and opposition leader Durrani stand in the race again.
Caretaker Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murtaza Solangi maintained, however, that there was no crisis and the procedure given in the Constitution would be followed.
There is no room for speculation, he wrote on X, on Saturday.
Azam Khan, 89-year-old retired bureaucrat, had passed away earlier on Saturday morning.
He was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Rehman Medical Institute (RMI) in Peshawar on Friday night, reportedly over complaints of chest pain. He was a heart patient and was brought to the hospital in a critical condition, it was revealed.
Azam Khan served as the caretaker chief minister of the province for nine-and-a-half months.