PPP, PML-N strike power-sharing deal in Pakistan; Shehbaz Sharif to be PM, Asif Ali Zardari President : The Tribune India

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PPP, PML-N strike power-sharing deal in Pakistan; Shehbaz Sharif to be PM, Asif Ali Zardari President

To form a government, a party must have 133 out of 265 contested seats in 266-member National Assembly

PPP, PML-N strike power-sharing deal in Pakistan; Shehbaz Sharif to be PM, Asif Ali Zardari President

PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif. Reuters


Islamabad, February 21

In a breakthrough that could end the political uncertainty in Pakistan, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan Peoples Party have agreed on a power-sharing deal to form a new coalition government after intense negotiations following a fractured poll verdict.

In a joint news conference late Tuesday night at Zardari House here, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari announced that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif, 72, will assume the role of the prime minister once again.

Similarly, PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, 68, will be the joint candidate for the President’s Office.

“The PPP and PML-N have achieved the required number, and (now) we are in a position to form the government,” Bilawal told reporters without revealing the number of lawmakers they have in the National Assembly after the February 8 elections.

To form a government, a party must win 133 out of 265 contested seats in the 266-member National Assembly or the lower house of Parliament.

He said former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party-backed independent candidates and Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) failed to achieve a simple majority in Parliament to form a government in the Centre.

Bilawal hoped that the news of the political alliance with the PML-N to form a coalition government would lead to a positive market response as the cash-strapped country faced a hung Parliament after the elections.

Last week, the PML-N in a surprise move announced that the party supremo and three-time former premier Nawaz Sharif nominated his younger brother Shehbaz as a candidate for the slot of prime minister. Nawaz, 74, was earlier confident to secure a record fourth term. However, his party failed to win enough seats to form a government on its own.

Independent candidates - a majority backed by 71-year-old Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party—won 93 National Assembly seats.

The PML-N won 75 seats while the PPP came third with 54 seats. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) has 17 seats.

Speaking at the press conference, Shehbaz asserted that his party now has the “required numbers” with the PPP to be in a position to form the next government as he thanked the leadership of the two parties for the positive conclusion to the talks.

The former prime minister emphasised the unity between the two parties, noting that they were well-positioned to form the government at the Centre.

Shehbaz, who led a coalition government for 16 months before the elections, also said that he had asked the PTI-backed winning candidates to prove their majority and form the government, but they didn’t have sufficient numbers.

The PML-N stalwart also thanked Bilawal and Zardari for their cooperation. Shehbaz said that both parties decided that Zardari would be fielded as the joint candidate for the post of president.

Responding to a question about whether the PPP was getting any portfolios, Shehbaz said that the Bilawal-led party has not demanded any ministry from the first day, The News International reported.

“Parleys take place between two parties and issues are resolved through (mutual consultation). It doesn’t mean that we accept their demands or they accept ours; they have their views but reaching a middle point is the real political success,” he said.

The former prime minister added that the decisions on the “offices” would be made mutually later under the guidance of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and the PPP’s top leadership, the report said.

Shehbaz also thanked the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party, and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, who will be part of the next government.

He vowed the upcoming coalition government would restore the country’s economy and fight against the menace of terrorism.

The PML-N leader said that the alliance would bring economic progress and development to the country. He said they would take measures to increase agricultural and industrial production in the country.

Shehbaz stressed that the previous unity forged during the 16-month government paved the way for their current collaboration, united in their commitment to addressing the concerns of the Pakistani people.

“We will not disappoint the people of Pakistan,” the president of the PML-N said.

The details were not provided but sources said that PPP was still reluctant to be part of the government as it agreed to have its president, chairman senate, and governors in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and chief minister in Balochistan.

The PML-N would have complete charge of the federal government with the prime minister and speaker. It will also get governors in the Sindh and Balochistan provinces.

The two also agreed to form a coalition government in Balochistan with an equal share in the cabinet.

Meanwhile, in a post on X, 71-year-old Khan’s party hit out at the newly cemented PPP, PML-N alliance as ‘PDM 2.0’ “PDM 2.0 = #MandateThieves.” The announcement of the alliance came a day after the latest round of talks between the top leaders of the two parties ended inconclusively on Monday as both sides failed to reach a consensus on a power-sharing formula to form a coalition government.

Shehbaz said that the journey ahead for the new government would not be easy but fraught with many difficulties and obstacles. He asserted that the coalition alliance will tackle them together, the Dawn newspaper reported.

Zardari, who was president from 2008 to 2013, has said the struggle of the political alliance bidding to make the next government is for the sake of the country and future generations.

The February 8 general elections have been controversial, with several serious allegations of widespread rigging to alter the results.

Imran Khan’s sister Aleema Khan said the PTI chief has termed the February 8 elections “mother of all rigging”.

Aleema met Imran Khan at Adiala Jail on Tuesday. She told reporters that the people’s mandate was “stolen” following the elections. She also said that Imran Khan has strongly condemned the suspension of internet services, which he claimed was used to “hide the real results”.

#Pakistan #Shehbaz Sharif

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