ANI Photo | Nawaz Sharif engaged in cabinet selection amid speculations of PML-N, PPP coalition: Report

Amid the February 8 polls, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif is keeping a low profile but active behind the scenes in the formation of federal and Punjab governments, as Dawn reported on February 17.
Despite facing challenges, the PML-N and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) are anticipated to forge a federal coalition government, with Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) as their third partner, as per a senior PML-N leader.
“Although he [Nawaz] is holding meetings with top bureaucrats of Punjab along with his daughter, who is PML-N’s nominee for chief minister, as part of her training, he is keeping a low profile in the political situation obtaining after the elections,” a party insider close to the Sharif family told Dawn.
The elder Sharif, pitched by his party before the polls as a favourite for the slot of PM, had to surrender in favour of his younger brother, Shehbaz Sharif after the party failed to secure a simple majority in the lower house.
According to Dawn, sources highlight that Nawaz Sharif, a three-time premier, has assumed a more discreet role following the unexpected electoral outcomes, refraining from aggressively pursuing leadership due to concerns regarding the polls’ legitimacy.
“He has saved his energy to make a comeback some other day,” the insider said, adding that the elder Sharif was busy shortlisting names for the federal and Punjab cabinets.
“Nawaz Sharif’s current role is calling shots from behind the scenes–recommending names for federal and Punjab cabinets as well as nominating bureaucrats of his choice for key posts,” he said.
A party leader said Nawaz Sharif was given a “reality check” in the elections. “Sharif was least expecting the blow received by his party.”
Furthermore, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb did not deny or confirm when asked about Nawaz Sharif holding meetings with bureaucrats and being busy in efforts to form the federal and Punjab governments.
Meanwhile, former defense minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif expressed confidence in a PML-N and PPP coalition forming the federal government, citing Shehbaz Sharif’s adeptness in managing coalition partners.
“The N League, PPP and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) are going to form the federal government as the party has nominated Shehbaz Sharif for the office of prime minister, keeping in view his experience dealing with the allied parties,” Khawaja Asif told reporters in Sialkot.
In Lahore, Khawaja Saad Rafiq said, “State institutions and politicians should sit at the negotiating table to come out of the imbroglio. Otherwise, he warned, enemies could take advantage of political uncertainty.”
Speaking to the media, he said, ‘the PTI founder would be acceptable only after he gave up ‘politics of hatred’. He said a way forward is found only when one’s rival accepts one.’
While focusing on the February 8 vote results, Rafiq said, ‘PML-N too could have raised multiple reservations on the results, but it prudently followed the path of conceding to the mandate of people in certain constituencies.’ (ANI)

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