New govt pivots around PPP: Bilawal

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PPP chief insists govts at Centre, Punjab can’t be formed without his party
KARACHI
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Saturday that no government could be formed at the Centre and in Punjab and Balochistan provinces without the inclusion of his party, but made it clear that so far, no such had taken place with any political party.
In an interview with a private news channel, Bilawal said he still awaited the completion of the vote count in all constituencies before engaging in discussions on cobbling up alliances for the formation of governments. According to Bilawal, any party taking shot at the government formation at the Centre, and in Punjab, besides Balochistan, would require the support of the PPP lawmakers, whose number is 54 in the National Assembly, 10 in Punjab Assembly and 11 in Balochistan Assembly.
There is no majority party in these assemblies. The PTI-backed independents are the largest group in the National Assembly with nearly 100 members, followed by the PML-N with 73, while both are tied at 134 in the Punjab. The PTI-backed independents won in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the PPP in Sindh.
“So far, there have been no formal talks with either the PML-N, PTI, or any other political party,” Bilawal told the channel. “We are waiting for the completion of the vote count in all constituencies, and the results to be unveiled,” he added.
The interview came a day after the PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif announced that his party intended to form a government at the Centre and in Punjab with support of potential allies. He tasked former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif to contact the potential allies and win over their support.
In this regard, reports had suggest that Shehbaz had met the PPP leadership, including Bilawal and former president Asif Zardari in Lahore. He also reached out to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) by the telephone, inviting them to Lahore for further talks.
Before Thursday’s elections, the PPP Central Executive Committee had nominated Bilawal as their candidate for prime minister. Bilawal said that if this decision needed to be changed, “we will once again convene” the CEC meeting.
Bilawal underscored the importance of a “political consensus” and a “national unity” government, without which, he stressed, the government would face challenges in delivering effective governance. “A government should be formed with national unity to bring political stability,” he said.