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Pak parties reach power-sharing agreement, Khan loyalists left out

GreenWatch Desk World News 2024-02-21, 9:31am

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Two Pakistan parties have reached a power-sharing agreement that will return Shehbaz Sharif to the premiership, leaving out politicians loyal to jailed former leader Imran Khan despite winning the most seats in this month's vote.   

The army-backed Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) said they had settled days of negotiations on securing a majority to form a coalition government that will also include several smaller parties.   
Candidates loyal to Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party won the most seats but were forced to stand as independents following a sweeping crackdown on the party, reports BSS.

There were widespread allegations of vote-rigging and result manipulation in the February 8 election after authorities switched off the nation's mobile phone network on election day, ostensibly on security grounds, and the count took more than 24 hours.   
After weeks of negotiations, Khan's adversaries announced at a late-night press conference in the capital Islamabad that a power-sharing agreement had been reached.   
Under the deal, the PML-N and PPP will put forward former leader Sharif as prime minister and Asif Ali Zardari, the husband of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, as president.   
"The Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz have attained the numbers and we will form a government," said PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the son of Zardari and Bhutto.   
"We are hopeful that Shehbaz Sharif will soon become the prime minister of the country and the whole of Pakistan should pray that the government should be successful."   
Sharif, seated next to Bhutto, added: "After 76 years, we find ourselves dependent on loans, and overcoming this situation is easier said than done. There are significant challenges that we are facing ... We have to take Pakistan out of these challenges."   
Bhutto Zardari said that ministerial portfolios had been agreed upon and would be announced in the coming days.   
The National Assembly must convene by February 29, when the coalition can be formally approved.