Shehbaz wants Bilawal to return as FM

ISLAMABAD  -  Incoming Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif wants Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chief Bilawal Bhut­to Zardari as his Foreign Minister - a combination they held before the general elections in an identi­cal 16-month coalition government.

Sources said since the PPP has decided not to be­come part of the federal cabinet, Bilawal is unlike­ly to accept the offer at least in the initial phase.

“The would-be Prime Minister is looking to bring almost the same cabinet when he resumes his of­fice. That (previous) federal cabinet included a lot of PPP members. Bilawal was the FM and Shehbaz Sharif wants him back,” a close aide of the Bhutto family told The Nation.

He said although the PPP wants to stay away from the federal cabinet “nothing can be ruled out in politics.” The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), he said, was ready to give several important min­istries to the PPP “if we give a nod.”

The PPP in the meanwhile is finalising its candi­dates for Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhaw Gover­norship. Faisal Karim Kundi is the front runner in Khyber Pakhtunkhaw while Qamar Zaman Kaira and Makhdoom Ahmed Mahmood are being con­sidered for the Punjab Governor’s slot.

For the Senate Chairman’s position, Yousaf Raza Gilani is the first choice unless he wants to keep a seat in the National Assembly.

Earlier, a few weeks following the contentious February 8 election, the PPP and the PML-N came to an agreement to establish a new coalition gov­ernment. In the general elections, the PML-N se­cured 75 seats, while the PPP came in third with 54 seats. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pa­kistan (MQMP) also pledged their support with their 17 seats. During a news conference, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had announced that PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif is set to re­assume the role of Prime Minister. 

Asif Ali Zardari, the co-chairman of the PPP, will return as the country’s President. “The PPP and PML-N have achieved the required numbers, and now we are in a position to form the government,” Bilawal said. He mentioned that the candidates backed by the PTI and the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) failed to secure a simple majority in Parlia­ment to establish a government at the Centre.

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