Thursday July 18, 2024

Inside story: PML-N, PPP mull sharing PM post during five-year term

PPP, PML-N eye coveted slot of PM as party has enough seats to form govt in Centre, say sources

By Azam Malik & Waqar Satti
February 12, 2024
PML-N delagtion meets PPP leaders at Bilawal House in Lahore in this still taken from a video on February 11, 2024. — X/MediaCellPPP
PML-N delagtion meets PPP leaders at Bilawal House in Lahore in this still taken from a video on February 11, 2024. — X/MediaCellPPP

Amid efforts to form a coalition government at the Centre, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) mulled sharing the office of the Prime Minister amongst themselves during the five-year term of the National Assembly, sources told Geo News on Monday.

The idea of appointing a prime minister for half the term was floated during the PPP and PML-N top leaders' first meeting following the February 8 elections which resulted in no party securing enough seats to form a majority government.

The same power-sharing formula was chalked out by PML-N and National Party (NP) in Balochistan in 2013 when two chief ministers from the two parties held office for half of the five-year term.

In the Sunday meeting at the Bilawal House in Lahore, the two sides agreed in principle to cooperate for the country’s political stability following the general election.

The meeting was attended by PPP-Parliamentarian President Asif Ali Zardari, PPP Chairman Bilawal-Bhutto Zardari and former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif from the PML-N.

According to a joint statement issued after the huddle, the meeting was held in a cordial environment, which expressed commitment to putting the nation’s interest and well-being above everything.

The leaders of both parties engaged in substantive discussions regarding the prevailing political landscape and the imperative of collaborative efforts for the betterment of the country.

The PML-N delegation included Azam Nazir Tarar, Ayaz Sadiq, Ahsan Iqbal, Rana Tanvir, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Malik Ahmad Khan, Marriyum Aurangzeb and Sheza Fatima.

The joint statement said key points of discussion were the assessment of Pakistan’s overall situation, deliberations on future political strategies and the exchange of recommendations aimed at promoting stability and progress across the board.

Both parties affirmed their dedication to steering Pakistan away from political instability and towards a path of prosperity and resilience. The statement said that the majority of the country had given mandate to the two parties and they would not disappoint them.

The leaders of the two parties underscored their unwavering commitment to fulfilling the aspirations of people and ensuring their voices were heard and heeded.

Inside story

According to the inside story of the meeting, the PML-N officially offered the PPP to ally to form a coalition government.

The PML-N leadership also apprised the PPP of its contacts with independent lawmakers and MQM-Pakistan, the insiders added.

The PML-N leadership demanded that it would retain the coveted slot of prime minister, while former president Asif Zardari maintained that the PPP’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) has already nominated Bilawal for the post of prime minister.

After this, the leadership of the two parties explored the possibility of appointing the prime minister of their parties for half of the five-year term, as per the sources.

They said the major parties have agreed to form coalition governments in the Centre, Punjab and Balochistan, sources said.

They have floated the proposal to devise a five-year roadmap in light of the Charter of Democracy that the two signed in 2006.

“The PPP will present proposals for power sharing in the CEC meeting today,” the sources added.

PML-N, MQM-P agree on political cooperation

The meeting came hours after the PML-N and MQM-P leaders agreed on political cooperation for the formation of future governments.

PMLN supremo Nawaz Sharif and Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui from the MQM-P led their party delegations.

The PMLN delegation included Shehbaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Ishaq Dar, Ahsan Iqbal, Rana Sanaullah, Ayaz Sadiq, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Marriyum Aurangzeb and Rana Mashhood, while the MQM delegation included Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori, Dr. Farooq Sattar and Mustafa Kamal.

According to PMLN Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, Nawaz Sharif and the MQM leadership agreed in principle to work together for the benefit of the country and the nation, and in this regard, the main issues had been settled between the two parties.

She said there was a detailed consultation on the situation during the one-hour meeting and suggestions were exchanged. They took each other into confidence on the overall political situation and the developments so far.

Earlier, on arrival at Jati Umra, Nawaz Sharif and PMLN President Shehbaz Sharif, along with the party leaders, welcomed the MQM leaders.

However, soon after the meeting ended, MQMP Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said no talks were held about cooperation for government formation in the Centre.

He also rejected reports that the party had demanded Sindh governorship in return for its support to the PMLN for making the next federal government.

Meanwhile, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif telephoned JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and discussed the political situation in the backdrop of the efforts to form a coalition government.

Sources said they exchanged views on the formation of the coalition government in Centre and provinces.