Both sides resolve to save country from political instability n MQM team visits Sharifs’ residence; PML-N, MQM hold initial talks on power-sharing n Nawaz, Shujat meet today n Independents continue to join PML-N n PTI-backed Wasim Qadir switches loyalties to PML-N.

 

LAHORE  –  With a clear picture now emerging follow­ing the February 8 polls, the political wheel­ing and dealing gained momentum on Sunday when the leadership of three main parties held two separate meet­ings in Lahore to evolve consensus on a power-sharing formula aiming to set up coalition gov­ernments in the centre and the provinces.

The first meeting took place at Sharif’s Raiwind residence be­tween the PML-N su­premo Nawaz Sharif and senior leadership of the MQM whereas the second such gath­ering took place at Bi­lawal House where the PML-N delegation led by party President She­hbaz Sharif called on PPP-P President Asif Ali Zardari and PPP chair­man Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. 

The PML-N delega­tion included Azam Nazeer Tarar, Ayaz Sadiq, Ahsan Iqbal, Rana Tanveer, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Malik Ahmad Khan, Marrri­yum Aurangzeb and Sheza Fatima. 

A communiqué is­sued by the PML-N termed the meeting be­tween the party Presi­dent Shehbaz Sharif and PPP leaders as constructive as the two sides exchanged recom­mendations regarding the country’s future setup and agreed to meet again soon after seeking approval from their respective execu­tive committees.

Key points of the dis­cussion included the assessment of Paki­stan’s overall situation, deliberations on future political strategies, and the exchange of rec­ommendations aimed at promoting stabil­ity and progress across the board.

According to sources privy to the meeting, the PML-N delegation expressed its desire to lead the federal govern­ment with Nawaz Sharif as the prime minister and offered a significant share in the ministries to the PPP. Asif Zardari in turn told Shehbaz Sharif that he would place their proposals in the party’s CEC meeting and then get back to him in a few days.

The PPP has called its CEC meeting today to discuss the proposals pre­sented by the PML-N regarding pow­er-sharing in the center and provinces. Although the PTI-backed independents have emerged as the largest group in the National Assembly with 92 mem­bers, the PML-N is leading with 79 seats followed by the PPP having 54 seats, according to the provisional re­sults issued by the Election Commis­sion of Pakistan. The MQM has won 17 general seats while the JUI-F and PML are trailing with four and three mem­bers respectively.

The BAP, PNAP, MWM and PML-Z have one seat each while BNP has won two seats. Given this split mandate, the PML-N cannot form its government in the center without the backing of the PPP and other parties. Punjab, how­ever, is an exception where the PML-N has secured a simple majority after the inclusion of independents. The issues relating to formation of governments in Punjab and Balochistan also came under discussion, according to the sources. In his conversation with the PML-N delegation, Asif Ali Zardari re­portedly hinted at formation of a coali­tion government in Balochistan led by the PPP with the PML-N and all other parties having share in the ministries. 

The PML-N said that the meeting was held in a cordial environment and the leaders expressed commitment to put­ting the nation’s interest and well-be­ing above everything. The leaders of both parties engaged in substantive discussions regarding the prevailing political situation and the imperative of collaborative efforts for the betterment of the country. Reflecting a spirit of con­sensus-building, the leaders acknowl­edged the importance of establishing a framework for sustained political coop­eration between the two parties, laying the groundwork for a stronger, more united approach to addressing the challenges facing the nation. 

Both the parties affirmed their dedi­cation to steering Pakistan away from political instability and towards a path of prosperity and resilience. Emphasiz­ing the mandate bestowed upon them by the majority of the people, the lead­ers underscored their unwavering com­mitment to fulfilling the aspirations of the people and ensuring their voic­es are heard and heeded. Separately, in the meeting held between the PML-N and MQM leaders, Nawaz Sharif and Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui led their re­spective delegations. The PML-N lead­ers including President Shehbaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Ishaq Dar, Ahsan Iqbal, Rana Sanaullah, Ayaz Sadiq, Khawa­ja Saad Rafiq, Maryam Aurangzeb and Rana Mashhood were also present in the meeting. The MQM delegation in­cluded Governor Sindh Kamran Tasuri, Dr. Farooq Sattar, Mustafa Kamal.

A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting held between PML-N and the MQM leaders said that the two par­ties discussed some basic points of po­litical cooperation, and an agreement was reached to work together for the interest of the country and the nation. The consultations between the leaders of both the parties continued for about an hour. In the meeting, there was a detailed consultation on the situation and suggestions were exchanged. The PML-N leaders also took the MQM del­egation into confidence about their contacts made with the independent candidates. Earlier, on their arrival in Raiwind, Nawaz Sharif and Sheh­baz Sharif along with the party leaders welcomed the MQM leaders.

Later, addressing a press confdrence in Karachi, MQM-P Convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui rebuked the reports suggesting the party’s demand for Sindh governor post for joining hands with the PML-N. He called for political stability while rebuking media reports claiming that the party is engaged in talks with the PML-N over the issue of government formation. Comment­ing on his party’s interaction with the PML-N leadership in Lahore, Siddiqui, in a press conference in Karachi, cate­gorically denied demanding the post of Sindh governor for the MQM-P.

Meanwhile, the meeting between Pa­kistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Muslim League Quaid-i-Azam (PML-Q) chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain was postponed. PML-Q leader Chaudhry Shafay Hussain said Chaudhry Shu­jaat Hussain was going to Islamabad to hold a meeting with PML-N lead­er Nawaz Sharif on Monday. Earlier, a PML-N delegation led by Nawaz Sharif was scheduled to meet Ch Shujaat Hus­sain in Lahore on Sunday. Shafay said Shujaat Hussain would hold meetings with PML-N leadership and other par­ties in Islamabad.

Meanwhile, in a major setback to Pa­kistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), a new­ly-elected MNA from Lahore, Wasim Qadir who was backed by the PTI an­nounced to join the PML-N after a meet­ing with Maryam Nawaz Sharif on Sun­day. Previously associated with the PPP and the PML-N, Wasim had recently joined the PTI and was also the gener­al secretary of party’s Lahore chapter. He had defeated PML-N stalwart Sheikh Rohail Asghar from NA-121, Lahore. 

The development has shocked the PTI leadership which had earlier taken the position that the candidates who had won assembly seats with their par­ty’s support would not change their loyalties in any situation. Qadir the first PTI-backed newly-elected MNA have joined the PML-N. Wasim Qadir called on Maryam Nawaz Sharif at Ra­iwind along with newly-elected MNA and PML-N Lahore president Malik Saiful Mulok Khokhar and expressed full confidence in the leadership of PML-N Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif.

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