PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Thursday met PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and discussed the overall political situation in the country.
The two leaders expressed their determination to move forward with mutual understanding and consensus in national political affairs. Bilawal met the PML-N supremo in London and congratulated him on the successful vote of no-confidence against former premier Imran Khan.
Sherry Rehman and Naveed Qamar accompanied Bilawal to the meeting while also in attendance were PML-N’s Ishaq Dar and Abid Sher Ali.
Bilawal congratulated Nawaz over victory in the elections for the prime minister and Punjab chief minister that saw his brother Shehbaz Sharif and nephew Hamza Shehbaz occupy both the offices. The two leaders, according to the PPP media cell, discussed the overall political situation in the country and expressed their determination to move forward with mutual understanding and consensus in national political affairs.
Bilawal and Nawaz also held a joint press conference, where the latter rued the economic situation of the country and the plight of the rupee against the dollar. He said it would take a lot of time to stabilize the economy, saying it is not an easy task. Nawaz criticized the deterioration of the political discourse in the country, saying he had never before seen “the environment created by Imran and the PTI”.
He termed the previous government’s tenure as among the “blackest” in the country’s history and blasted Imran for his “U-turns”. The PML-N supremo said all the parties of the country, from all the provinces, would have to play their role to together take the country out of the crisis-like situation. Nawaz thanked Bilawal for paying him a visit and said the two would have another meeting the next day.
Meanwhile, Bilawal said the PPP and PML-N had once again “created history” with their recent success. He said whereas prime ministers were previously removed through undemocratic means, Imran was removed through a constitutional, parliamentary and democratic manner. “Pakistan is at a crossroads. We can either go towards the revival of democracy … or we can go in reverse gear and repeat the same mistakes,” he said.
Ending the press conference, Nawaz termed Khan’s claim of being removed through a foreign conspiracy a “great big lie”.
Prior to the meeting, PPP leader Faisal Karim Kundi said the dialogue would have no specific agenda. He said Bilawal and Nawaz would have a “political discussion” before the former returns to Pakistan to take an oath as a cabinet member. “There is no deadlock between the PPP and PML-N,” he insisted, adding that both the parties were moving forward for the country’s sake by forgetting bitter memories of the past. However, PPP sources had earlier said that Bilawal was meeting Nawaz to express reservations of his party and other allies about the formation of the federal cabinet.
The PPP is divided on the issue of Bilawal joining the federal cabinet as the country’s new foreign minister in the coalition government under PM Shehbaz.
Background interviews with several party leaders had confirmed the reports in some media circles that the PPP chairman might become the foreign minister, though in-house consultation on the matter was still ongoing.
There are two camps in the PPP. One believes Bilawal should go for the Foreign Ministry slot, as it would provide him with experience in handling international affairs and ultimately benefit him if he becomes the country’s prime minister in future. Members of the other camp, however, think the PPP chairman should not become a part of the federal cabinet under Shehbaz, as it would undermine his status of being the head of the second-largest party in the ruling coalition.