Pakistan: PML-N, PPP’s fifth round of discussion on govt formation ends inconclusively

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A political stalemate in Pakistan continued as the fifth round of talks between Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) coordination committees concluded inconclusively, Pakistan-based The Express Tribune reported. The meeting was held at PML-N senior leader Ishaq Dar’s residence in parliament lodges in Islamabad. Prominent figures from PML-N and PPP attended the meeting. The PPP delegation comprised Murad Ali Shah, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Nadeem Afzal Chan, and others.

The negotiation between the two parties, which continued for three hours, hit a snag, prompting a temporary halt with both parties deciding to reconvene at 10 pm. During this interval, discussions were held between the Muttahida Qaumi Movement – Pakistan (MQM-P) and PML-N and the former offered its support to the latter, according to The Express Tribune report. The second round of negotiations between PML-N and PPP did not materialise, leaving PML-N leaders waiting. The PML-N leaders concluded their meeting at 11 pm and announced that discussions with the PPP would resume on Tuesday morning.

Despite multiple rounds of talks, a decision over the PPP’s inclusion in the cabinet remained elusive. However, PML-N leaders have been optimistic, with sources expressing confidence that an agreement with the PPP will be reached soon, The Express Tribune reported. Speaking to reporters after the meeting on Monday, PML-N leader Azam Nazir Tarar spoke about a positive trajectory in the ongoing discussions between the two parties. He stated that PML-N’s talks with the PPP committee would resume the next morning. He indicated at predetermined aspects regarding the PPP’s integration into the federal cabinet.

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Meanwhile, MQM-P leader Kamran Tessori reiterated the unified stance of parties in navigating the complexities of government formation. He made the remarks after the meeting between PML-N and MQM-P. Tessori said, “We stand united in the challenging task of government formation. MQM-P has assured full support, and we anticipate the issuance of an official declaration later today.” Pakistan held its 12th national general election on February 8, amid allegations of rigging and the shutdown of cellular and internet services.

According to the election results, independent candidates supported by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have won 92 seats. PML-N is currently in the second position in the vote count with 79 seats while the PPP has won 54 seats, Geo News reported. The MQM-P has secured victory in 17 constituencies. JUI-F has won four seats, PML-Q secured victory in three constituencies, while IPP and BNP won two seats each, according to Geo News report. The MWM, National Party, PML-Z, Balochistan Awami Party, Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and Pashtunkhwa National Awami Party have won one seat each.