Monday, April 15, 2024

Shehbaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto Seal Power-Sharing Deal In Pakistan – N.F Times


 

Islamabad: Pakistan’s two old-guard political parties agreed to form a government, a move that breaks an almost two-week deadlock and likely keeps jailed former premier Imran Khan’s party out of power even though it won the most seats in the country’s contentious election.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party will join a coalition with the Sharif clan’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Bhutto Zardari said at a joint news conference in the capital Islamabad close to midnight local time on Tuesday. Shehbaz Sharif will be prime minister while Bhutto Zardari’s father, Asif Ali Zardari, will be nominated as president.

“Both the parties have the numbers to form a government,” Bhutto Zardari, 35, the son of slain former premier Benazir Bhutto, said, with his father and Sharif next to him.

The development will probably end days of uncertainty after the inconclusive February 8 election, in which Khan’s candidates, running as independents, defied the odds by winning the most seats but fell short of clinching an outright majority. Rounds of negotiations followed, culminating in the announcement Tuesday night.

Investors will be watching what this means for Pakistan’s markets, which have been rocked after the polls. The benchmark stock index has fallen for six of eight trading days since February 8. Dollar bonds due 2031 climbed 1.2 cents to 66.04 cents on the dollar on Wednesday, while notes maturing 2051 also rose.

Questions also remain about how Khan’s supporters will respond. His Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party posted on X a picture of Sharif, Bhutto Zardari and his father moments after the announcement, using the hashtag #MandateThieves.

 


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