Pakistan 'officially' gets a 'powerless' Deputy PM

Last Updated: Tue, Jun 26, 2012 08:54 hrs

Islamabad: As a result of intense negotiations between the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and its ally, the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), the country now has a deputy prime minister.

PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, who holds the portfolios of defence production and industries' minister in Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf's cabinet, has been declared Pakistan's "deputy prime minister", reports The Express Tribune.

However, the ambit of the post remains undefined as an official notification stressed that he would have no powers of the prime minister "whatsoever".

The post, for which there is no constitutional provision, had been a longstanding demand of the PML-Q. The party had joined the PPP-led coalition in 2011 based on this promise, but former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had resisted the move on the grounds that there was no legal basis for the position.

After Gilani's ouster last week, PML-Q leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and his cousin Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, among other demands, also put forward the creation of the deputy prime minister's office as a pre-condition for their party's support for a new PPP nominee for prime ministership.

The cabinet division issued a notification that read: "The prime minister has been pleased to designate Ch. Pervaiz Elahi, Federal Minister for Defence Production and Industries as deputy prime minister with immediate effect and until further orders. This shall not confer upon him any powers of the prime minister in any manner whatsoever."

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