Zardari, Sharif Agree to Cooperate for Political Stability, Mull Rotating PM Term

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have agreed to share the office of the Prime Minister for half of the five-year term each as part of their efforts to form a coalition government at the Centre and in the provinces.

The two major parties, which emerged as the largest and second-largest parties respectively in the February 8 general elections, held their first formal meeting on Sunday at the Bilawal House in Lahore to discuss the prevailing political situation and the future course of action.

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

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 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.

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 which, the leadership of the two parties explored the possibility of appointing prime minister of their parties for half of the five-year term, as per the sources. They said the idea of appointing a prime minister for half the term was inspired by the same power-sharing formula that 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.

They said the major parties have agreed to form coalition governments in the Centre, Punjab and Balochistan, sources said. They have also floated the proposal to devise a five-year roadmap in light of the Charter of Democracy that the two signed in 2006.

The sources said the PPP will present its proposals for power sharing in the CEC meeting today, while the PML-N will also consult its allies and independent candidates to finalise its stance.

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.

The PML-N and MQM-P leaders also 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.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Sunday announced the complete and final results of the general election 2024 held on February 8. According to a press statement issued by the ECP, the election results announced for the National Assembly (NA), or the lower house of the parliament, independent candidates secured 92 seats, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) of ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif secured 79 seats, and the Pakistan People Party Parliamentarians (PPP) of former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari got 54 seats.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan won 17 seats, and the Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam Pakistan (JUI-F) got 4 seats in the country’s national assembly. Pakistan Muslim League got three, Balochistan National Party and the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party got two seats each, while Pakistan Muslim League (Zia), Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen Pakistan, Pashtoonkhwa National Awami Party Pakistan (PkMAP), Balochistan Awami Party, the National Party and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party secured one seat each.

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