Pakistan News: With just under three months remaining until Pakistan’s scheduled general elections, Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar has been appointed as the country’s eighth caretaker prime minister on August 14.
At 52, Kakar assumes leadership of the nation of 240 million people at a pivotal juncture, with expectations high for his forthcoming selection of a caretaker cabinet.
Introducing Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar
As the youngest interim PM in Pakistan’s history, Kakar, an ethnic Pashtun from the Kakar tribe, hails from Balochistan, the country’s largest and economically disadvantaged province grappling with a long-standing insurgency. Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar was born in 1971 in Muslim Bagh, Quetta, Balochistan. He pursued his education at St. Francis School in Quetta and later attended Cadet College Kohat. He holds a Master’s degree in political science and sociology from the University of Balochistan. Notably, he is the second individual from Balochistan to hold the role of Pakistan’s interim prime minister, according to reports from BBC Urdu and Dawn.
Kakar’s political journey began with the PML-N, but his association ended after the Nawaz government was ousted by a military coup led by the late General Pervez Musharraf in 1999. In 2018, Kakar was elected as an independent senator from Balochistan. He co-founded the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) after assuming office and has served as a spokesperson for the Balochistan government. His amicable approach toward nationalist parties has been evident through his statement where he said, “We have no stubbornness or rigidity with nationalist parties. The ball is in their court to decide what they want.”
Immediate challenges ahead
Kakar steps into his role at a time when Pakistan confronts a multitude of pressing challenges. The nation’s economy faces severe strains with a near-default situation. It recently averted the same by securing a $3 billion deal with the International Monetary Fund. While economic allies like China, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE offer short-term financial support, Pakistan faces substantial payments exceeding $80 billion over the next few years.
Furthermore, Pakistan contends with a resurgence of violent attacks, particularly in provinces like Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. Just prior to Kakar’s swearing-in, a rebel group targeted a convoy of Chinese workers in Gwadar, a city integral to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.
Perhaps his most immediate challenge will be navigating the ongoing political and constitutional crisis, ensuring transparent general elections proceed as scheduled. As Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar steps into this pivotal role, the eyes of Pakistan and the world are on his leadership as he grapples with multifaceted issues confronting the nation.