Home Latest News Another ‘PDM’ in the Offing with Shehbaz Sharif as P.M.

Another ‘PDM’ in the Offing with Shehbaz Sharif as P.M.

PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari offers reconciliation to PTI to achieve ‘common’ economic and defense agenda

by Staff Report

Screengrab of the press conference

The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) on Tuesday announced that it will field party president Shehbaz Sharif as its candidate for the next Prime Minister of Pakistan, as a majority of parties in Parliament told a press conference they will work together to form the next government and steer the country out of crises.

This would mark Sharif’s second stint as the prime minister, with the political leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQMP), Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid), and Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) all pledging to support him as their consensus candidate in the incoming government. The only major party not included in the bonhomie was the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), whose founder Imran Khan had earlier said he was willing to ally with anyone except the PMLN, PPP and MQMP.

During the press conference, Sharif maintained he would try to “convince” his elder brother, Nawaz, to assume the mantle of the premiership. However, this claim was dashed within minutes, as PMLN spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb posted on X, formerly Twitter, that Nawaz had granted his blessing to his younger brother to take the reins of the next government.

Also revealed during the press conference was the PMLN’s candidate for the Punjab chief minister, where the party has secured a majority, Maryam Nawaz, making her the first woman in the country’s history to head a province if she is elected to power.

Addressing the gathered journalists in Islamabad, Zardari formally announced the new alliance—patterned after the alliance that comprised the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government that assumed power after the ouster of Imran Khan as prime minister. “We will take Pakistan out of difficult times,” he said, saying all those gathered at the podium would work together in government.

He also offered reconciliation to the PTI, stressing that it should also join the process as the crises facing the country required national consensus. “It is not that we want that PTI does not enter reconciliation,” he maintained. “It should, and every other political force should come and talk to us. Our economic and defense agenda should be common. We should move forward with our commonalities and then make the house of Sharif and others successful, so we can make Pakistan successful,” he added.

Sharif, meanwhile, noted that the parties gathered together represented “a-near two-thirds majority” in Parliament after the 2024 general elections. As such, he said, they had united to inform the country that they would accept the “split mandate” emerging after the polls. According to results issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the combined strength of the parties pledging to form a coalition (before reserved seats) is 152. This number would be boosted by the addition of 60 women and 10 minority reserved seats. A two-thirds majority in the 336-member Lower House is 224, which seems unachievable unless the parties can lure members of PTI-backed independents to their ranks prior to the formation of government.

To a question, Sharif hinted that Zardari could be the next president of Pakistan, but noted that all stakeholders would take the decision with consensus. He also renewed his call for a “charter of the economy” aimed at evolving consensus on long-term economic policies. Both the PPP and PMLN have backed this over the years, but the PTI has repeatedly rejected it.

On a question about the absence of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the PMLN president said he would seek the former’s support separately.

MQMP leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, meanwhile, said that no party’s interest could be greater than serving Pakistan at this stage. “With mutual cooperation, we will strengthen democracy and support Mian Shehbaz Sharif. We have supported him before and will do so in future,” he said.

IPP leader Aleem Khan said he was hopeful Sharif’s government would efficiently tackle the miseries facing the poor. PMLQ chief Shujaat stressed on the need to prioritize an economic agenda to tackle the country’s economic situation. BAP leader Sadiq Sanjrani, meanwhile, reaffirmed BAP’s support for the PMLN.

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