Bilawal Bhutto rejects power-sharing formula: 'Don't want to be a PM like this'

The PPP leader declared Asif Ali Zardari would be the PPP’s candidate for president

AP02_13_2024_000309B Pakistan People's Party chairman Bilawal-Bhutto Zardari | AP

Talks over government formation in Pakistan seem to have hit a roadblock after PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said he rejected a power-sharing formula wherein the Prime Minister's post would be shared between Nawaz Sharif's party and the PPP.

Bhutto-Zardari was quoted by local media on Sunday: "I was told [by PML-N] that let us be the prime minister for three years and then you can take the premiership for the remaining two years. I said no to this. I said I do not want to be a prime minister like this. If I become the prime minister, it would be after the people of Pakistan elect me."

This comes as the election verdict ended in a hung verdict, with Imran Khan's PTI emerging as the front-runner. The PML-N and the PPP, respectively, emerged as the largest and the second-largest party in the National Assembly. Following this, the PML-N and PPP decided to form a coalition government, the talks of which are going on. 

However, Bhutto-Zardari said his party only wants to ensure democracy and the survival of the federation. "We only want to ensure that democracy and the federation survive. We want to extinguish the fire [of division and hatred] which is spreading in Pakistan. This is why we have decided that [PPP co-chairman] Asif Ali Zardari will be the party’s candidate for president," he added while declaring Zardari as the PPP candidate for the post of president. 

 "Once again, we have to raise the slogan of Pakistan Khappay [we want Pakistan]."

However, PML-N leader Ishaq Dar, the former finance minister, responded to Bhutto-Zardari's remarks, stating that it was not appropriate to divulge details about talks between the parties vying to form the next government. He said the PPP chairman had made the time-sharing formula public but "that was just one aspect and there can be more formulas". 

"None of the committee members of both parties will make anything public till it isn't final," Dar said. "I receive calls daily to find out about the progress but I am morally bound to not say anything till it's finalised," he said.

Meanwhile, another round of talks between the PML-N and PPP will be held on Monday. "None of the committee members of both parties will make anything public till it isn't final," Dar said. 

"Consultation on various proposals was underway till yesterday," Dar stated in a post shared by PML-N on X, suggesting ongoing deliberations between the parties. He further remarked that while progress had been made, both sides had yet to finalise key points of agreement.


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