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Deadlock in Pakistan: Nawaz Sharif moves closer to PM as Bhutto drops out | World News

Pakistan is set to form a new government after Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Tuesday pledged support to its rival Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Tuesday withdrew from the race for prime minister and said his party would support any candidate put forward by the Nawaz Sharif-led PML-N.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (center) and leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML), with his younger brother and former Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (right) and daughter Maryam Nawaz (left). (AFP)

Bhutto also said his party would not join the cabinet.

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“If this House fails to elect a Prime Minister and form a government, then we will have to go for re-elections and that will lead to a further perpetuation of this political crisis,” Bilawal Bhutto said at a press briefing on Tuesday . “The Pakistan People’s Party will not accept ministries in the government and will support the government on a thematic basis.”

Responding to a question, Bilawal said his father and former president Asif Ali Zardari would be the presidential candidate as he was capable of taking the country out of the current problems.

Meanwhile, former Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has reaffirmed that his elder brother Nawaz Sharif will become the country’s prime minister.

“I had said that Nawaz Sharif will become prime minister for the fourth time. And I maintain today that he will be prime minister for the fourth time,” Shehbaz told a press conference.

Bhutto’s announcement and Shehbaz Sharif’s reaffirmation paved the way for Nawaz Sharif to become prime minister for a record fourth time.

Nawaz Sharif’s potential return to power comes after a tumultuous period marked by legal battles, exile and political maneuvering.

The older Sharif has been involved in politics for nearly five decades and has a history of disagreements with generals. He was ousted as prime minister three times. In 2017, he was disqualified from office by the Supreme Court of Pakistan over corruption charges stemming from the Panama Papers scandal. Subsequently, he was also convicted and sentenced to prison in separate corruption cases. After his ouster from power and the legal problems that followed, Nawaz Sharif went into exile in London to undergo medical treatment.

Pakistani voters delivered a split mandate in the February 8 election results.

Independent candidates, mostly backed by imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s PTI party, won 101 seats in the 266-member National Assembly, followed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). of former three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with 75 seats, and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) of former Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari with 54 seats.

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