Thursday Aug 16 2018

PPP withdraws support for Shehbaz Sharif as PM candidate

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) withdrew support for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif for the post of prime minister, sources informed Geo News on Thursday.

The decision was taken during a consultative meeting of the PPP and the party is deliberating on whether it will take part in the election. The meeting is being chaired by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari.

Shehbaz Sharif was nominated as the prime minister candidate of the joint opposition which included the PML-N, PPP, MMA and ANP.

'PPP decides not to vote in PM election'

For the first time in the history of Pakistan, the PPP has decided to remain politically indifferent in the prime minister election.

According to sources, PPP members will attend the NA session on Friday, however, they will refrain from partaking in the election process.

The PPP will not vote for either PML-N’s Shehbaz Sharif or PTI’s Imran for the position of prime minister.

The National Assembly will elect the country’s 22nd prime minister on Friday. Earlier today, nomination papers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif were accepted.

Speaking to reporters prior to the PPP meeting, Khrusheed Shah said his party had reservations over Shehbaz being the candidate for prime minister. Shah stressed that if the PML-N does not change its PM candidate then the PPP will make a decision accordingly.

“We have told PML-N of our reservations, we are working on [resolving it]. [But] if they don’t change their candidate then we will [make our own] decision,” he said.

PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique claimed that the PPP backtracked upon former president Asif Ali Zardari’s orders.

He said that earlier the PPP had agreed upon the PML-N candidate’s name. "We don't blame Zardari sb for anything and are aware of his troubles," said the former federal minister.

Numbers game

With the loss of the PPP (54 seats), Shehbaz Sharif will now face an almost impossible task to be elected as prime minister. The PML-N has 81 seats in the National Assembly and it is yet unclear if the party will still be supported by the MMA (15 seats) and ANP (1 seat). Jamaat-e-Islami which is part of the MMA has announced that it will not vote in the election.

On the other hand, Imran Khan’s PTI has 151 seats and with the support of its allies, the total stands at 175 which is more than the required simple majority.