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Bilawal Bhutto meets Pakistan’s elder statesman Nawaz Sharif—have the two worked out a power sharing deal?

Bilawal Bhutto meets Pakistan’s elder statesman Nawaz Sharif.

This was the first meeting in London on Thursday evening between Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif – the two top leaders of the two major ruling coalition partners of Pakistan. The purpose was to sort out the “teething” problems that the new government led by Nawaz’s younger brother Shehbaz Sharif were confronting. 

Though no further details were made available, according to sources, Bilawal spoke to Nawaz Sharif about his concerns about the newly formed cabinet and particularly non-inclusion of some allies– ANP, BNP-Mengal, and Mohsin Dawar in the cabinet. Earlier Bilawal was tipped to be Pakistan’s foreign minister but he did not take the oath but was there in a ceremony to congratulate the new ministers.

“The matter is resolved and it is expected that Bilawal may take oath as foreign minister on his return from London,” said one source, adding that after Bilawal’s party PPP’s concern, the premier Shehbaz Sharif withdrew the appointment of a retired diplomat as his advisor on foreign policy. 

Earlier there was one line of thinking in his party that Bhutto should not join the government as foreign minister because it was below his stature. But on the other hand, some “seasoned” politicians had the view that for 33-year-old Bilawal, it will be a great experience to serve as foreign minister in the changing global scenario.  

The post of the foreign minister is still vacant. Hina Rabbani Khar took oath as Minister of State for Foreign Affairs while PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is expected to soon become the new foreign minister of the new government.

In the first face to face meeting after the ouster of Imran Khan, the two top leaders of  Pakistan's biggest political parties, PML-N and PPP, vowed to work together on issues pertaining to politics and national interest.

The PPP chairman Bilawal  went on to say that the role of Nawaz Sharif for democracy is unparalleled and under the Charter of Democracy, Pakistan was moving in the right direction. We have once again put Pakistan towards the restoration of democracy.

After the meeting Nawaz Sharif and Bilawal held a joint press conference where Sharif, the three-time prime minister, emphasised that "We  need to work together as Pakistan saw the worst of times during the four years that Imran Khan was in power. He took U-turns on everything and always did the opposite of what he vowed to."

Bhutto told the media  that Nawaz's sacrifices for democracy were evident before everyone and noted that he came to meet the PML-N supremo as once everyone is on the same page, only then can they resolve Pakistan's issues.

"PML-N and PPP will solve Pakistan's issues once they are on the same page," he said, asking all the institutions to remain within their constitutional parameters.

Though no details were given about the return of Nawaz Sharif, all details are being worked out for his smooth arrival in Pakistan. 

Also Read : Will Nawaz Sharif’s return from “exile” for the third time prove lucky?