Pakistan: Nawaz Sharif To Become PM For Fourth Time, Shehbaz Affirms. Bilawal Bhutto Withdraws From Race

New Delhi: Former Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif reiterated on Tuesday that Nawaz Sharif, the supreme leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), will become the prime minister for a record fourth time.

Addressing a press conference at the party’s headquarters, Shehbaz said “I had said that Nawaz Sharif would become prime minister for the fourth time. And I maintain today that he is going to be the PM for the fourth time,” reported PTI.

Responding to questions about his own candidacy for the top post, Shehbaz emphasized, “My candidate for the PM slot is Nawaz Sharif.”

Nawaz Sharif, who is now 74 years old, initially assumed power in 1990 but faced corruption allegations and was removed from office three years later. He returned to power in 1997 but was ousted in a military coup in 1999. In 2013, he regained power but was embroiled in fresh corruption allegations related to the Panama Papers leak in 2016. Consequently, he was disqualified from office for life after being convicted on separate corruption charges, according to PTI.

Shehbaz also addressed allegations of election rigging in the February 8 polls, pointing out instances where PML-N candidates lost while independents emerged victorious. He urged PTI-backed independents to attempt forming the government in Islamabad if they have the majority.

However, he indicated that if they fail, the PML-N, along with other parties like PPP, MQM-P, and JUI-F, would consider forming a coalition government to address the country’s crises. “If the PTI-backed candidates have the majority to form the government in Islamabad they should try it and we will sit in the opposition benches. If they fail, then we along with other parties like PPP, MQM-P, and JUI-F will cobble up a coalition set up to steer the country out of crises,” he said, as per the PTI report.

PPP’s Bilawal Bhutto Withdraws From Prime Minister’s Race

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari announced his withdrawal from the race for the prime minister’s position on Tuesday, stating that his party would back Nawaz Sharif for the premier’s post without being part of the government.

Speaking at a press conference following the Pakistan Peoples Party’s high-powered Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting, Bilawal explained that his party did not receive the mandate to form a government at the federal level, reported PTI.

“As a result, I will not be presenting myself as a candidate for the prime minister of Pakistan,” he stated, highlighting that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) had declined to forge a coalition with the PPP, leaving the PML-N as the sole party to extend an invitation to the PPP to participate in the government.

Bilawal disclosed that the PPP opted to endorse the PML-N’s candidate for the premiership to ensure political stability in the nation. He further announced the formation of a committee to engage with other political parties for government formation and political harmony, the PTI report added.

“The PPP has concluded that we are unable to join the federal government independently, nor are we interested in securing ministries within such a framework. Additionally, we aim to avert political turmoil in the country. We are committed to resolving the crisis and preventing further chaos,” he emphasized.

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