Shehbaz PM, Zardari president as PPP, PML-N finally agree to form govt

After days-long debate and discussion, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) late Tuesday forged an agreement to form a coalition government in the Centre as no party secured a simple majority in the February 8 general election.

After days-long parleys and much uncertainty, top leaders from both parties confirmed that they were once again joining forces to form the government “in the nation’s interest”.

“Pakistan Peoples Party and Muslim League Nawaz now have complete numbers and we are in the position to form the next government,” PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari told a press conference in Islamabad alongside top leaders from both the parties.

No political party secured a simple majority in the February 8 elections, forcing parties to join hands in their bid to come into power, but the delay of an agreement had raised eyebrows.

While parties were wheeling and dealing over the government formation, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had allied with the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) to ensure it gets the required numbers through reserved seats in the assemblies.

However, the PPP chief told reporters that the SIC did not have sufficient numbers to form the next government in the Centre.

The former foreign minister said Shehbaz would be the next prime minister and Zardari would be the joint candidate for both parties for the president’s slot.

He added that both parties would form the next government to pull the country out of the ongoing crises and expressed hope that they would be able to deliver.

Speaking on the occasion, PML-N’s Shehbaz said that he had asked the PTI-backed winning candidates to prove their majority and form the government, but they didn’t have sufficient numbers.

“We have sufficient numbers to form the next government,” he added. The PML-N stalwart also thanked Bilawal and Zardari for their cooperation. Shehbaz said that both parties decided that Zardari would be fielded as the joint candidate for the post of president.

Responding to a question about whether PPP was getting any portfolios, Shehbaz said that the Bilawal-led party hasn’t demanded any ministry from the first day.

“Parleys take place between two parties and issues are resolved through [mutual consultation]. It doesn’t mean that we accept their demands or they accept ours; they have their views but reaching a middle point is the real political success,” he said.

The former prime minister added that the decisions on the “offices” would be made mutually later under the guidance of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and PPP’s top leadership.

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