Moves like PPP

February 25, 2024

Could it be that the PPP has gained the most in the recent elections?

Moves like PPP


ome smart moves by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the Pakistan Peoples Party chairman, have brought the party to the centre stage in the post-election scenario. The PPP, one could argue, has gained in these elections. As a result, it is likely to get important positions at the federal level and in all provinces.

A hung parliament has emerged amid controversy about the election results and allegations of rigging by almost all parties. The PPP is once again the third biggest political force and will be instrumental in government formation.

Bilawal was the first leader of a major party to start the election campaign for his party when all others were either unsure about the elections or demanding delays for security reasons and on account of harsh weather. His hard work bore fruits as the PPP not only secured more seats than it had in 2018 and 2013 elections but also polled 7 percent more votes. It might be encouraging for him that his party has gained in the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In Balochistan, the PPP is the largest party in terms of seats in the Provincial Assembly. In Sindh, it has once again proven invincible.

The PTI-backed independents, who won the most seats in the National Assembly and have joined its ally, the Sunni Ittehad Council, to use the platform to secure seats reserved for women and minorities, refused to negotiate with the PPP. The rigging controversy soon after the election added to the political uncertainty and polarisation. There was a strong perception that an emergency might be imposed unless the political forces can negotiate a way to form the governments. The PPP and the PML-N have since announced that they will join hands to form the federal government.

Bilawal Bhutto told the media that the PPP would support the PML-N in forming its government but would not join the federal cabinet. Instead, he wished that his father, former president Asif Ali Zardari, be elected president for a second term. The PML-N president, Shahbaz Sharif, has since addressed a joint presser with Asif Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto. Zardari said that Shahbaz Sharif would be the next prime minister, supported by the PPP. Sharif announced that “Asif Zardari will be the next president of Pakistan.”

The PPP-PML-N coalition has agreed that the Senate chairman will be from the PPP. “Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani will be the next Senate chairman,” a PPP stalwart revealed on the condition of anonymity. Gillani, already a senator, won a National Assembly seat from Multan, that he will have to vacate. His son Ali Qasim Gillani is likely to run for the seat in the by-election.

Bilawal also convinced the PML-N to form a coalition government in Balochistan. The PPP and the PML-N have enough members in the provincial assembly to form the provincial government. According to the formula decided between the two parties, the PPP will get the chief minister’s office and the PML-N the speakership and half the ministries in the provincial cabinet. A PPP insider says, “The PPP has shortlisted the names of former CM Sanaullah Zehri, former caretaker interior minister Sarfraz Bugti and PPP veteran, Sadiq Umrani, for chief minister.”

In Sindh, the PPP is the single largest party and will form a government. Two sisters of Asif Zardari, Faryal Talpur and Dr Azra Pechuho, won seats in the Provincial Assembly. Initially, there was an impression that Faryal Talpur might be the new chief minister.

On Thursday a highly informed PPP source told TNS, “The party has shortlisted the names of Faryal Talpur, Murad Ali Shah, Nasir Hussain Shah and Sharjil Memon for chief minister. Murad Ali Shah appears most likely to be the chief minister.”

In the Punjab, where the PPP has 10 members in the Provincial Assembly, it will not get any provincial ministry. Instead, it has asked for the governorship. Former Punjab governor Makhdoom Ahmad Mahmood, former Gilgit-Baltistan governor Qamar Zaman Kaira and PPP stalwart Nadeem Afzal Chan are being considered for the office.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the PPP has won four provincial assembly seats and wants the province’s governorship for which it is considering several names.

The PML-N and the PPP have been the major components of what appeared to be evolving into a two-party democracy in Pakistan from 1988 till 2001. The powers that be made several attempts to prevent this outcome, succeeding in 2013 when the PTI emerged as a third political force. Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif had sensed danger to democracy and signed the Charter of Democracy. It has proved an important document in Pakistan’s political history, uniting two arch-rivals, the PPP and the PML-N, and making them allies in an on-going defence of democracy and important constitutional provisions.

The writer is a senior journalist, teacher of journalism, writer and analyst. His X handle: @BukhariMubasher

Moves like PPP