Tuesday, February 13, 2024
Despite days-long consultations between the two major parties of the country, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has decided to back Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's (PML-N) candidate for the prime minister's slot but will not be a part of the federal government.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari made the major announcement during a news conference in Islamabad after the Central Executive Committee's (CEC) session on Tuesday, saying that he was withdrawing from the candidacy for prime minister's post as "the PPP doesn't have the mandate to form the federal government".
"It is a fact that the PPP does not have a mandate to form the federal government and due to that I will not be putting myself forward for the candidacy of the prime minister of Pakistan," said the 35-year-old politician, who ran the 2024 general election for the country's top slot.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed candidates and PML-N, he said, had more numbers than his party in the National Assembly (NA), but since the former has announced that they would not engage in any dialogue with the PPP, there is no possibility of a PTI or independents-led government in the country.
It may be noted that PTI founder Imran Khan brushed off the possibility of forming a coalition government with PPP, PML-N or Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P).
The young politician said that only the PML-N had invited the PPP to form a coalition government.
As the PPP is not in a position to form the government in the Centre, Bilawal said, it would not be interested in taking federal ministries in the setup.
"PPP won't be a part of a government like PDM II.
"We don’t want to see chaos in the country or perpetual crisis in the country," he said while setting aside the perception of re-election.
Instead of inclusion in the PML-N's government, Bilawal said his party will seek key posts like Senate chairman and NA speaker, as it has the right to seek positions on the constitutional posts.
Revealing the reason behind backing the rival party's candidate for the coveted post, Bilawal said that the PPP decided to support the PML-N's candidate for the premiership to ensure political instability in the country.
Bilawal went on to say that the PPP has many complaints and objections regarding the recently held general elections. He said that they would form a committee, which would engage with other political parties and ensure that all their "reservations are addressed".
"We want the process of government formation to move ahead."
Referring to his decision to withdraw from the candidacy for the prime minister's post, Bilawal said that it may not be in his favour "but it is love with Pakistan".
"If the people of the country had given me the mandate, I would ask for the PM's post," he said.
The PPP chairman, however, asserted that the situation would become difficult again if PML-N's candidate engages in "old politics".
Bilawal then called on all the political parties to worry about Pakistan as well instead of just themselves.
He further said that the PPP would try to form governments in Sindh and Balochistan.
Earlier, the PTI claimed that the former ruling party, upon directions of its founder Khan, will join hands with Majlis-e-Wahdat-Muslimeen (MWM) to form its governments in Centre and Punjab.
Speaking to the media in Islamabad on Tuesday, PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan said that the former prime minister, while ruling out the prospects of any talks with the PML-N, PPP and MQM-P, has directed the party to form a coalition with Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) over reserved seats.
The PTI's decision to join hands with the MWM — which has only secured one National Assembly seat — comes as its sponsored candidates, who have won 116 provincial assembly seats in Punjab, will have 72 hours to join a party once the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) notifies their win.