close
Saturday April 20, 2024

Progress only possible if 'someone' changes their position: Bilawal on govt formation

"If I have to vote for PML-N, I will do so on my terms," says PPP chairman

By Web Desk
February 20, 2024

With the coordination committees of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) set to hold a sixth meeting today to reach an agreement over the formation of the future government today, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said progress in negotiations is only possible if "someone" is willing to change their position.

"I foresee a 'dangerous stalemate' if someone doesn't change their position. We stand by ours and will not change it," he said, without naming the PML-N, as the PPP chairman spoke to the media outside the Supreme Court after attending the hearing of a presidential reference against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's death sentence.

Bilawal's remarks come as the coordination committees of the PML-N and PPP are set to hold a sixth meeting today to reach an agreement over the formation of the future government after both parties failed to secure National Assembly seats in sufficient numbers to form their set-up in the Centre.

The bilateral talks have dragged on owing to the PPP's refusal to join the PML-N's cabinet despite agreeing to support its candidate for the prime minister's slot. However, in exchange for its support to the PML-N, the Bilawal-led party is eyeing key constitutional positions including the office of president for Asif Ali Zardari.

Attempts have been underway by all the major political stakeholders to rope in independent candidates and forge alliances to reach the necessary 169 seats in the 336-member lower house of parliament after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed candidates emerged as the largest group by winning more than 90 NA seats followed by the PML-N and PPP's 79 and 54 seats, respectively.

Bilawal said that this deadlock over talks would neither be beneficial for the democracy nor the economy.

When asked if he was in touch with the establishment, Bilawal said: "Where is the evidence that I am involved with the establishment? Give evidence before accusing me."

He said that the people did not give a majority to just one party. "The people have given such a decision on which all the stakeholders will have to come to a consensus."

"Political stakeholders have to sit together and decide. If I have to vote for PML-N, I will do so on my terms," added Bilawal.

Earlier, Speaking to Geo News, PPP's Information Secretary Faisal Karim Kundi reiterated the decision made by the party's central executive committee against being a part of the federal cabinet in the future government.

"[Our] experience with the PML-N during the 16-month alliance was not pleasant," Kundi said while stressing that there's no formula for holding the office of the prime minister for three years and two years by either party's candidates.

However, he hoped that a consensus would be reached between the two parties in today's meeting.