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PPP wants Bilawal as PM in talks with Sharif’s party – Times of India

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) adopted Sunday a firm stand in negotiations with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led by former three-time PM Nawaz Sharif, after securing third-largest number of seats in Feb 8 general elections. PPP is demanding prime ministerial position for its leader and former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, offering support to form a provincial govt in Punjab in return.
Since the announcement of election results, three largest parties — independents affiliated with jailed ex-PM Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), PML-N, and PPP — have been vying to form next govt at Centre and in four provinces. PTI secured 95 seats, PML-N obtained 74, and PPP got 54 seats in National Assembly, the lower house of parliament. A coalition of PPP, PML-N and smaller parties had been governing Pakistan since the ouster of Imran in April 2022.
According to sources, PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif conveyed to his elder brother Nawaz and other senior party leaders that former Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari demanded the position of PM for Bilawal during their meeting Friday night. However, PML-N is reluctant to concede the PM slot.
PPP information secretary Faisal Karim Kundi suggested that Bilawal should consider sitting in the opposition if he doesn’t secure the PM post in a stable coalition. “We should prioritise our party and continue serving people from that position,” Kundi said.
Imran’s PTI claimed a landslide victory and rejected talks with PML-N and PPP. It intends to form federal govt independently and is willing to contest election results they deem manipulated. “We don’t feel comfortable with both of them for talks. It is better to sit in opposition than to form a govt with them,” PTI’s interim chief Barrister Gohar Khan said.
Imran said 95 of 102 independent candidates were backed by PTI and remained its loyalists. He emphasised PTI’s near victory in Punjab and its two-thirds majority in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He also demanded release of PTI’s “political prisoners” in response to Pakistan Army chief Gen Asim Munir’s call for stability and reconciliation.

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