The Pakistan People's Party-led government will install a caretaker government in March next year to oversee the next general election, which will be held by May 18, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira has said.
"The formation of an interim government by the end of this year is not possible. We will set up the caretaker set-up in March as our (government's) term is ending on March 18. The interim government will be constitutionally bound to hold the general election within 60 days (by May 18)," Kaira said.
Opposition parties, including the PML-N led by former premier Nawaz Sharif [ Images ], have been demanding that a caretaker government should be installed by the end of this year so that the general election can be held by March next year.
Sharif has even expressed doubts about the government's commitment to hold the next general election on time, saying it wants to cling to power on different pretexts.
However, PPP leaders have insisted that the caretaker government will be formed by March 18.
During his interaction with reporters in Lahore [ Images ] on Tuesday, Kaira ruled out talks with the opposition on the caretaker set-up at this stage.
He said: "It is too early to hold talks with the opposition on the issue as about six months are left for the completion of our term."
Kaira said the PML-N was not making serious efforts to forge consensus with other parties on choosing a caretaker premier.
"Even one of the leaders the PML-N had proposed for the post of caretaker Prime Minister laughed at their non-seriousness in short-listing the names," he said, referring to Baloch leader Attaullah Mengal.
The PML-N has short-listed some nine personalities, including rights activists Asma Jehangir, for the slot of interim premier.
Under the Constitution, the Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition in parliament have to consult each other on nominating an interim premier.
In case they fail to reach consensus, then the Chief Election Commissioner will appoint a person of his choice as caretaker premier.
In a related development, diplomatic sources told PTI that the US has been pressurising both President Asif Ali Zardari [ Images ] and the security establishment to ensure that the next election is held according to schedule so that Pakistan can witness its first peaceful transfer of power from one elected government to another.
Top US officials have told the President that there should be no delay in the holding of the next polls.
At the same time, they have informed the security establishment that any effort to form a "government of technocrats" will not augur well for democracy in Pakistan, the diplomatic sources said.