PESHAWAR (Staff Report): In the wake of the passing of former CM Azam Khan, retired Justice Arshad Hussain Shah has been appointed as the caretaker chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The decision was reached after consultations between former CM Mahmood Khan, a constitutional consultee, and opposition leader Akram Khan Durrani. The appointment, made under Article 224 of the Constitution, received approval from the KP governor.

Justice Arshad Hussain Shah, previously serving as the law minister in Azam Khan’s cabinet, brings a wealth of experience, having also served as the chief justice of Gilgit-Baltistan.

The death of Azam Khan raised questions about the constitutional procedures for appointing a new caretaker chief executive, with legal minds debating the appropriate mechanism. While some argue that the existing provisions in Article 224 and Article 224-A can be applied, others, including former secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan, Kanwar Dilshad, suggest the Senate could play a role in such emergencies.

The situation is further complicated by the departure of Mahmood Khan from the ruling party, making this an unprecedented case of the caretaker chief minister’s slot falling vacant. Constitutional lawyers, however, assert that the established mechanism in articles 224 and 224-A should be followed.

Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi emphasized that there is no room for speculation, while legal experts predict that the burden will now be on the courts to interpret the constitutional provisions in this unique case.

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