Pak parties intensify efforts to form coalition government after split verdict in Feb 8 elections

After an hour-long meeting, they have reached a ‘principle agreement’ to work together in the upcoming government, according to a statement released by Sharif’s party.”We will work together in the interest of the country and public,” the statement said, adding that basic points had been agreed upon by the two parties.MQM-P leader Haider Rizvi earlier told Geo News in an interview that his party would be more comfortable with the PML-N as the ‘two parties don’t compete in Karachi’ unlike the PPP or other parties.PML-N President Shehbaz on Saturday met senior PPP leaders Asif Ali Zardari and his Bilawal on Friday night and discussed the future coalition.Shehbaz told the party leaders that former president and PPP leader Asif Zardari has demanded the prime minister’s slot for PPP Chairman Bilawal and major ministerial portfolios in exchange for support for the PML-N to form the government, sources said.Party sources added that so far making a coalition with Zardari was the first option the PML-N was exploring but didn’t want to give away the slot of prime minister.Sources claimed the meeting decided that in case the negotiations with the PPP failed, the PML-N would make a coalition government with MQM, JUI-F and other smaller parties, including independents.They further claimed that in this scenario, the PML-N would make Shehbaz Sharif the prime minister and Maryam Sharif the Chief Minister of Punjab.”Shehbaz Sharif is the favourite for the PM office for being more close to the military establishment besides the PML-N has more seats in Parliament than the PPP,” sources said.”Shehbaz is a favourite of the military establishment which feels much comfortable working with him,” they said.Meanwhile, Bilawal, the 35-year-old former foreign minister said no one could form governments in the Centre, Punjab or Balochistan without his party’s support, and the PPP’s door was open to every political party for dialogue, as reconciliation was vital for political stability.”So far, the PPP has not engaged officially with the PML-N, PTI or any other party. Once the results are finalised, then the Central Executive Committee of the party, which nominated me as the candidate, will sit again and devise the course of action,” he said.It is believed that a newer version of the Pakistan Democratic Movement coalition, also called as PDM government, under Shehbaz Sharif was more likely based on the experience of running the government after Khan was removed.

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