Pakistan election: Shehbaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto agree to form, says report | World News - Hindustan Times

Pakistan election results: Shehbaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said to agree to form govt; all eyes on Imran Khan

Feb 10, 2024 03:31 PM IST

With no clear winner in Pakistan elections, Shehbaz Sharif, brother of Nawaz Sharif, met Bilawal Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari to cobble together an alliance.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have agreed to form a coalition government at the Centre and Punjab province after Shehbaz Sharif met Bilawal Bhutto and former president Asif Ali Zardari, inviting them to work together for Pakistan, Geo News reported. There has been no clear victor from the divisive elections in Pakistan as the tardy vote-counting process neared completion on Saturday, indicating that the elusive political stability for the cash-strapped India's neighbour may still be a distant dream.

People watch latest election results live on a television at a shop, a day after Pakistan's national elections in Lahore on February 9.(AFP)
People watch latest election results live on a television at a shop, a day after Pakistan's national elections in Lahore on February 9.(AFP)

The general elections were held on Thursday and the counting began soon after the polling ended at 5pm with the hope that the majority of 265 contested seats would be available by Friday morning.

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Former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif, brother of PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, met the PPP top leaders at the residence of caretaker Punjab chief minister Mohsin Naqvi, Geo News reported. Party sources told the news portal that Shehbaz Sharif discussed the future government formation with Zardari and also conveyed Nawaz Sharif’s message. During the 45-minute meeting, Shehbaz Sharif asked Bilawal Bhutto and his father Asif Ali Zardari to sit with the PML-N leadership for political and economic stability in Pakistan.

The sources claimed that both PPP leaders have agreed to form a government in Punjab and at the Centre and both the parties will present their own views in the next meeting and finalise all matters regarding the power-sharing formula as to who will assume which office and where with mutual consultation, the report added.

Earlier on Friday, Nawaz Sharif announced his intention to form a united government with the help of his former allies – PPP, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (Pakistan) after none of the contesting parties could secure a comfortable majority.

The army-backed PML-N took 71 and the PPP snapped up 53 – with minor parties taking the rest and 15 of the elected 266-seat National Assembly still to be announced.

Nawaz Sharif's game plan

Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif claimed the PML-N's "victory" in the general election in the backdrop of a precarious economy and the political crisis unleashed by Imran Khan's ouster from power.

In a charged speech in Lahore's Model Town, Nawaz Sharif said, “I have tasked Shehbaz Sharif to meet Fazlur Rehman, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, and Asif Ali Zardari today.”

He added that his brother, Shehbaz Sharif, and Ishaq Dar would hold meetings as part of the outreach efforts.

Respecting the mandate of all parties and independent candidates, Nawaz Sharif hinted at the formation of a 'unity government.'

Despite the trends not falling in their favour, PML-N leaders remained confident of forming the next government, asserting that their candidates have secured the majority of seats and are poised to take the reins of the country.

Meanwhile, an AI-generated video released Saturday by the party of jailed former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan has him claiming victory in the country's election.

Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) defied a months-long crackdown that crippled campaigning and forced candidates to run as independents in Thursday's vote, but their showing stunned observers. A slow counting process showed independents had won at least 99 seats -- 88 of them loyal to Imran Khan – by Saturday morning.

(With inputs from agencies)

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