ISLAMABAD: PML-N Presi­d­ent Shehbaz Sharif has convened a meeting of his party’s allies in the Centre to put the final touches to the formation of a new coalition government, on Wednesday.

In light of their recent agreement to support each other in the federal government, the PPP and PML-N were expected to decide the names of their candidates for the coveted slots of speaker and deputy speaker of the national and Balochistan assemblies by late Tuesday night. However, until the filing of this report, no decision had been announced in this regard.

The PML-N is also holding a meeting of its parliamentary party today (Wednesday), which will be co-chaired by the party’s supremo Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shehbaz.

“The PML-N president called a meeting of allied parties tomorrow at Punjab House in which formation of the new government will be discussed,” PML-N Senator Ishaq Dar said in a press talk on Tuesday.

Mustafa Kamal owns statement claiming PPP wants to form govt ‘without MQM-P’

He said that according to their agreement, the PPP and the PML-N would field their joint candidates for the offices of speaker and deputy speaker of the national and Balochistan assemblies. He said both parties were committed to abiding by their deal to support each other in the “functioning of the next government”.

Accompanied by PML-N and PPP coordination committee me­m­bers, Mr Dar told the media that a meeting of the PML-N and PPP coordination committee members decided the future alignment. He said his party had a clear road map on how to pull the country out of prevailing economic and political crises.

 Ishaq Dar speaks to media. — DawnNewsTV
Ishaq Dar speaks to media. — DawnNewsTV

Mr Dar said his party had its doors open for reconciliation even with the PTI. “We can make reconciliation with the PTI, though May 9 incidents made it difficult,” he added.

While JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman addressing a presser reiterated rigging allegations, the PML-N leader said his party had been ready to go with JUI-F not only in Balochistan but also in the Centre.

Under the agreement, the PPP has announced its support to the PML-N so that the latter could form its government, with Shehbaz Sharif tipped to be the next prime minister.

Of the total 265 general seats in the NA, the PML-N has bagged 75 seats, while the PPP secured 54. Although PTI-backed independent candidates got the highest number of seats, i.e. 93, they did not opt for alliance with either of the two mainstream parties. A total of 169 NA seats is re­quired to form a government.

Kamal’s audio leak

Meanwhile, MQM-P leader Syed Mustafa Kamal said in a video message that “a spy of MQM-London” had released an audio tape in which he can be heard speaking at a meeting of the party’s Rabita Commi­ttee.

Confirming the contents of the audio, he said he was informing the committee that the PPP had told the PML-N that after their agreement to form the government, they did not require MQM-P’s help to form the government.

He said that he had apprised the meeting about PPP’s claim that MQM was “given a fake mandate”.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2024

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