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Thursday February 22, 2024

PMLN, PPP discuss power-sharing arrangements

In first phase, PM will be from majority party for three years, while in second phase, candidate of runner-up party will be PM for next two years

By Ali Raza & Asim Yasin & News Desk
February 13, 2024
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto (L) and former president Asif Ali Zardari (c) while meeting with the former premier and PMLN president Shehbaz Sharif. — APP/File
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto (L) and former president Asif Ali Zardari (c) while meeting with the former premier and PMLN president Shehbaz Sharif. — APP/File  

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) have devised a power-sharing formula under which the coalition partners will govern the centre in phases, it has been learnt.

In the first phase, the prime minister will be from the majority party for three years, while in the second phase, the candidate of the runner-up party will be the prime minister for the next two years.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) is bending over backwards to rope in more winning candidates as well as to forge electoral alliances for formation of governments in the center and Punjab.

Sources in the PMLN said Nawaz Sharif had called up the JUIF chief Fazlur Rehman and discussed the country’s political situation and government formation. The two leaders are expected to meet soon.

PMLN President Shehbaz Sharif had also contacted Fazl twice during the last 24 hours and took him into confidence on government formation at the centre.

Fazl told Shehbaz that he will put the matter in his party’s Majlis-e-Shoora and inform him about the final decision on Wednesday.

Fazl also expressed his reservations about the election results. He was defeated by the PTI-backed independent candidate Ali Ameen Gandapur.

Meanwhile, seven newly elected members of the Punjab Assembly met with the PMLN Chief Organizer Maryam Nawaz. They included Sohail Khan from PP-240 Bahawalnagar, Khurram Virk from PP-48 Sialkot, Prince Gazin Abbasi from PP-249 Ahmedpur Sharqia, Khizar Mazari from Rajanpur, Zulfiqar Ali Shah from PP-96 Chiniot, Rana Fayyaz from PP-49 Pasrur and Saqib Chadhar from PP-97 Chiniot.

Maryam welcomed the independent members for joining the PMLN. They later met with former prime minister and PMLN President Shehbaz Sharif.

Meanwhile, the IPP President Aleem Khan and the winning candidate Aoun Chaudhry also met with Shehbaz Sharif and discussed the current political situation and government formation.

Meanwhile, PMLN spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said the name of the prime minister’s candidate had not been finalised yet.

In a statement on X, she said the statement of the party’s senior leader Khawaja Muhammad Asif was being presented out of context.

She said the party wanted to make it clear that the name of the candidate would be decided unanimously after the alliances and political consultations.

She said series of discussions and meetings were going on and the nation would be taken into confidence after their completion.

Furthermore, PMLN leader Attaullah Tarar said the allies would together decide on the prime minister. He said the PMLN got the simple majority of 150 in the Punjab Assembly on Monday after Shamsher Mazari and Waseem Qadir joined them while efforts were on to rope in more winning candidates.

Addressing a press conference, Tarar said the PMLN was in consultation with other parties. Our consultations with the PPP and MQM are going on and we will try to announce the candidate for prime minister through consultations, he said, adding that the PMLN had emerged as the single largest party in Punjab and centre and we will form governments together with the allies.

Tarar said he had visited almost 100 polling stations in his constituency on the Election Day and saw no violence anywhere.

“There was no fight or quarrel, and the administration and the Election Commission played an impartial role. Now a specific party is trying to create an impression of rigging, which is inappropriate and incorrect,” he maintained.

He said if the PTI’s candidates won in KP, then there was no rigging, but if its candidates lost in Punjab and Sindh, then there was rigging. He said the election were transparent and impartial.

“On just 21 percent of results, a political party started celebrating its victory. Our stalwarts like Javed Latif, Sheikh Rohail Asghar, Saad Rafiq and Rana Sanaullah Khan lost elections. If rigging took place, then they would have been the winners,” said the PMLN leader.

While the PMLN is casting its net wider to charm more winning candidates into its fold, PPP leader Faisal Karim Kundi believes that if the party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was not elected as prime minister, then his party should sit in the opposition.

Talking to Geo News on Monday, the PPP secretary information clarified that it was his own opinion that the PPP should sit on the opposition benches if Bilawal was not elected as PM.

He said it was also possible that they would vote for the PML-N’s candidate for PM and sit on the opposition benches. Commenting on the PPP-PML-N meeting a day earlier, Kundi said the points discussed in the meeting would be placed before the party’s Central Executive Committee on Tuesday.

“In my opinion, if the PDM part two comes [to power], then it will not be able to work properly,” said the PPP leader adding that the incoming government will face a lot of difficulties in the absence of majority.

Currently, the PPP has 54 seats in the National Assembly and its numbers are positioned to play a key role as whoever it supports will be able to get the PM House.

The party has also obtained majority in the Sindh and Balochistan assemblies. In Sindh, it can form a government without the support of any other party, while in Balochistan, it would need a partner to form the government.

Asked as to who would be nominated for the slot of Sindh chief minister, Kundi said the party CEC will decide on it.

He also shared that if the PPP supported the PML-N in forming the government in Punjab, then it would seek its support to form the government in Balochistan.

In Balochistan, the PPP has emerged as the largest party with 11 seats, while the JUI-F and PML-N are in second position with 10 seats each.

However, PML-N has emerged as the largest party in the Punjab Assembly with 138 seats followed by the PTI-backed 116 independents, while the number of candidates that ran as independents without any party’s backing stood at 22, the PPP at 10, PML-Q at 7, and the IPP, TLP and PML-Z one seat each.

In a related development, the PPP Central Executive Committee remained inconclusive on forming the future strategy with regard to the post-election situation.

“The CEC meeting will continue on Tuesday, but it was decided to form a committee for political contacts which will also be announced on Tuesday,” said the PPPP Vice President Senator Sherry Rehman in a press talk outside the Zardari House.

However, she did not name the committee members saying these would also be announced on Tuesday after the conclusion of the CEC meeting. Faisal Karim Kundi, Shazia Marri, Sarfaraz Bugti and other leaders accompanied Sherry.

Zardari and Bilawal jointly chaired the CEC at Zardari House, Islamabad. All the members were present. The meeting began by paying homage to the martyrs of democracy.

The members expressed confidence in the leadership of President Asif Ali Zardari and Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and exchanged views on the country’s current political and economic situation. The PPP leadership will announce the decision after final consultation.

Secretary Information PPP Parliamentarians Shazia Marri said those who came from all provinces in the CEC meeting expressed concern over the election because many irregularities had been committed.

Kundi said a PPP team headed by Senator Taj Haider was working on the complaints. The way Bilawal Bhutto Zardari conveyed his narrative to the entire country has been hailed. He said the CEC will meet on Tuesday and a detailed briefing would be held after that.

Meanwhile, according to sources, the majority of members in the CEC meeting suggested that the party should sit in the opposition instead of joining the coalition government.

Sources said the members of the CEC who suggested sitting in the opposition opined that apparently a strong coalition government was not being formed and it would be better to sit in the opposition.

Some voices also echoed in the meeting suggesting that the mandate of independent members should be respected and the PPP should sit in the opposition.

They opined that the PPP could easily install its own prime minister but politically it would be a loss. According to them, the leadership thought that if a strong coalition government could not be formed, then it should sit in the opposition.

However, sources said some voices suggested that the PPP should be part of the government after getting important posts, including the office of prime minister. Those who advocated the formation of government were of the view that if Bilawal Bhutto Zardari became the prime minister and got important ministries, the PPP could deliver.

Sources said Nadeem Afzal Chan suggested that the mandate of independents should be respected as they had got the original mandate. It was also suggested to talk with the PTI instead of PMLN.