Asim Yasin, Imtiaz Hussain, and Mumtaz Alvi reported on February 11, 2024 that former president Asif Ali Zardari has made a significant demand during coalition talks. According to sources, Zardari has insisted that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) will support the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in forming a government in Punjab on one condition: PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari must be appointed as the Prime Minister. In exchange for this demand, the PPP would back the PML-N in Punjab. This development comes as both parties engage in discussions for the formation of federal and provincial governments. The PML-N, despite being the largest political party in the country, recognizes the need for coalition partners to secure a government. If negotiations with the PPP fail, the PML-N is also exploring the possibility of forming a coalition government with other parties, including the MQM and JUI-F, as well as independent candidates.

The demand made by Asif Ali Zardari has added a layer of complexity to the ongoing coalition negotiations in Punjab. The PPP’s insistence on Bilawal Bhutto Zardari being appointed as Prime Minister has raised eyebrows within political circles. While the PML-N acknowledges the PPP’s significant presence in the province, granting the top executive position to Bilawal would require careful consideration.

Political analysts speculate that this demand is not only about securing the Prime Minister slot but also about positioning the PPP as a key player in the federal government. By leveraging their support in Punjab, the PPP aims to strengthen its bargaining power at the national level. However, the PML-N leadership remains cautious, aware that any decision could have far-reaching implications for their party’s future.

As negotiations continue, both parties are engaging in intense backroom discussions. The PML-N is exploring alternative scenarios, including forming a coalition with other parties such as the MQM and JUI-F. The stakes are high, and the outcome will shape the political landscape in Punjab and beyond.

Stay tuned for further updates as the drama unfolds in the corridors of power. 

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