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Stalemate continues in formation of new Pakistan govt

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
February 20, 2024 20:11 IST
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There was no progress in the formation of a new coalition government in Pakistan on Tuesday as top leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) failed to agree on a power-sharing deal in their latest round of talks, indicating deepening fissures in the country's political landscape.

IMAGE: Supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan's party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), chant slogans as they gather during a protest demanding free and fair results of the elections, outside the provincial election commission office in Karachi, on February 17, 2024. Photograph: Akhtar Soomro/ Reuters

The fifth round of the meeting, held at the residence of PML-N senior leader Senator Ishaq Dar in Islamabad on Monday, saw the participation of prominent leaders from both parties, who have pledged to work together in the interest of the cash-strapped country.

The PPP delegation comprised senior leaders Murad Ali Shah, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Nadeem Afzal Chan, and others, The Express Tribune newspaper reported on Tuesday.


After a three-hour deliberation on Monday, the negotiation hit a snag prompting a temporary halt, with both PML-N and PPP agreeing to reconvene at 10 pm on Monday. However, the meeting did not take place.

Eventually, at 11 pm, the PML-N concluded their meeting, announcing that discussions with PPP would resume on Wednesday.

In an informal conversation with reporters after the first round of the meeting, PML-N leader Azam Nazir Tarar conveyed a positive trajectory in the ongoing discussions.

"Some things have already been decided on the matter of PPP's inclusion in the cabinet," Tarar was quoted as saying by Geo News.

The PPP is reportedly asking for key constitutional positions of President, Chairman Senate, and Speaker of the National Assembly for its support to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's PML-N.

Sources said PPP chairman Bilawal Zardari-Bhutto was playing smartly and trying to bring PML-N to a point where it withdrew from making a coalition government and then launching himself as prime minister and form a government with the support of independents of jailed former prime minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) who have now joined the Sunni Ittehad Council.

But it will not be easy for the 35-year-old former foreign minister as PTI has already rejected the possibility of supporting the PPP.

Meanwhile, Bilawal on Tuesday said he foresees a "stalemate" in the formation of a coalition government 'if someone is not ready to change their stance'.

"If someone else wants to change their stance, there can be progress. If they are not ready to change it, I foresee a stalemate," he said, adding that this would not benefit democracy or the parliamentary system.

"If I want to give the PML-N a vote, I will have to give it on my terms and not theirs," the former foreign minister told reporters at the Supreme Court.

"The delay [in forming the government] is because of non-seriousness," he said, adding that the situation is harming Pakistan's democracy.

"The faster this is resolved, it will be better for stability and the incoming government," he said.

The general elections have been controversial with several serious allegations of widespread rigging to alter the results.

Over 11 days after the voting, there is still no clarity on which party would form the government at the Centre.

Though independent candidates backed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) of jailed former prime minister Imran Khan won the maximum number of seats in Parliament, PML-N and PPP have announced that they will form a coalition government after the elections resulted in a hung Parliament.

However, despite multiple rounds of talks, a decision regarding PPP's inclusion in the Cabinet remained elusive.

According to sources, the powerful military, which has backed a unity government after the fractured verdict, would have to put down its foot and the PPP would have to join the coalition government with a share in the cabinet.

Otherwise, the process of forming a coalition government would be difficult.

The Parliament should meet for its maiden session by February 29 and it is hoped that the two leading parties -- PML-N and PPP -- would agree on a power-sharing arrangement by that time.

Meanwhile, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (Pakistan) pledged its support for the PML-N on Monday.

To form a government, a party must win 133 seats out of 265 contested seats in the 266-member National Assembly.

Independent candidates - a majority backed by the PTI -- won 93 National Assembly seats in the election.

The PML-N won 75 seats while the PPP came third with 54 seats.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) has also agreed to support them with their 17 seats.

In an informal dialogue with journalists, Sindh governor and MQM-P leader Kamran Tessori said, "We stand united in the challenging task of government formation. MQM-P has assured full support (to PML-N)."

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.