Nawaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto join hands, but can they form Pak government?

This alliance raises many questions about leadership.

New Delhi:

After the 2024 Pakistan elections, two major political players, Nawaz Sharif-led Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari-led Pakistan People's Party (PPP) have jointly announced an alliance. Rule the nation.

Despite winning more seats as independent candidates, Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lost its majority, prompting the PML-N and PPP to collaborate in forming the government. However, this alliance raises many questions about the leadership, distribution of key roles and the overall viability of their partnership.

Key players and positions

A press conference announcing the alliance on Tuesday featured key leaders including Shehbaz Sharif from the PML-N, Asif Ali Zardari from the PPP and representatives of other smaller parties. Shehbaz Sharif, the PML-N leader, has emerged as a possible candidate for prime minister and he has expressed his desire to include Imran Khan's PTI in the government for the betterment of the country.

The exclusion of PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari from the prime ministerial race signals a strategic move to throw support behind the PML-N. According to the dawn, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari admitted that his party did not have enough mandate to lead the government. The successor to the Bhutto-Zardari clan, the PPP rejected an alliance with the PTI and accepted the PML-N's invitation, citing PTI's refusal to cooperate.

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Photo credit: AFP

PML-N leader Maryam Aurangzeb announced that 74-year-old Nawaz Sharif has nominated his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif (72) as the next Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Nawaz Sharif thanked the political parties for supporting the PML-N (in forming the incoming government) and expressed hope that Pakistan would emerge from the crises through such decisions.

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However, Imran Khan, who is currently in jail on corruption charges, refused to cooperate, setting the stage for potential political tensions. The distribution of key positions within the coalition was unclear, leaving room for negotiations and speculation.


The coalition faces the challenge of forming a government with the minimum required 169 seats in Pakistan's 336-member National Assembly and achieving a two-thirds majority in the 224 seats.

The Election Commission of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif-led coalition comprising PML-N, PPP, MQM-P, PML-Q, IPP, BAP won a total of 152 general seats in the recent elections. According to the dawnWith 60 women and 10 minority constituencies, the alliance is poised to breach the minimum 169 seats needed to form the government.

However, reaching the 224 seats required for a two-thirds majority in the 336-member assembly remains a critical hurdle.

The fate of reserved seats depends on the results of 101 independents, of which 92 PTI-backed independents won.

Internal dynamics

The PML-N announced Shahbaz Sharif as its prime ministerial candidate, initially expressing his desire for Nawaz Sharif to return to the post. Later, it was clarified that Nawaz Sharif supported Shehbaz as the leader. Also, Maryam Nawaz, daughter of Nawaz Sharif, was nominated as the alliance's candidate for the post of Punjab Chief Minister.

PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari argued for inclusion by suggesting talks with Imran Khan's PTI.

Challenges and unanswered questions

Several questions remained unanswered at the joint press conference, creating uncertainty about the coalition's stability and ability to form a functional government. The lack of details on the distribution of key roles and the process of government formation underscores the need for further negotiations among coalition partners.

Allegations of vote rigging during the elections and the fact that the country's mobile network was switched off on election day added an element of controversy. Imran Khan announced that he will file a case against the election results in the Supreme Court.

The coalition's success in forming the next government depends on effective negotiations, internal unity and meeting the challenges posed by allegations of electoral fraud.

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