ANI Photo | Pakistan: PPP chief Bilawal, former President Zardari arrive in Lahore for ‘crucial post-election meeting’

As the much-anticipated general elections threw up a fractured mandate, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and former President Asif Ali Zardari reached Lahore for a ‘crucial post-election meeting,’ ARY News reported on Friday.
According to the report, the PPP leaders are expected to hold a meeting with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif during their visit to Lahore to explore the possibility of a post-election tie-up or allaince.
The PPP leadership is also expected to articulate its stance on their reservations regarding election results in the Punjab region, according to the report.
Further, there is also the likelihood of a post-election meeting between the leaderships of PPP and PML-N in Punjab.
Earlier in the day, Nawaz Sharif, former PM the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) candidate for the premiership, announced on Friday his intention to form a united government with the help of his former allies–Pakistan Peoples Party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (Pakistan) after none of the contesting parties could secure a comfortable majority.
The unofficial results called by Geo News for 204 seats showed the Independent candidates, mostly backed by former PM Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, leading in 87 seats, followed by the PML-N in 60 seats and PPP at 45 seats.
Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif claimed PML-N’s ‘victory’ in the February 8 general election in the backdrop of a precarious economy and the political crisis unleashed by Imran Khan’s ouster from power.
In a charged speech in Lahore’s Model Town, Nawaz Sharif said, “I have tasked Shehbaz Sharif to meet Fazlur Rehman, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, and Asif Ali Zardari today.”
He added that his brother Shehbaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar would hold meetings as part of the outreach efforts.
Respecting the mandate of all parties and independent candidates, Nawaz hinted at the formation of a ‘unity government.’
He asserted that it is the collective responsibility of all parties to join forces and navigate Pakistan out of its current crisis. “Not just my or Ishaq Dar’s responsibility… It is everyone’s Pakistan. If we all work together, only then will Pakistan get out of this crisis,” the former PM added.
Stressing the need for a stable Pakistan, Nawaz stated, “Pakistan needed at least 10 years of stability. Those who are in the mood for confrontation, I want to tell them we don’t want any fight… Pakistan cannot afford it. We all must sit together and sort issues out and take Pakistan to the 21st century, but due to our mistake, we could not do that earlier.”
With the counting of votes still in progress, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI)-backed candidates were leading in more than 100 seats while the PML-N is trailing.
Despite the trends not falling in their favour, PML-N leaders remained confident of forming the next government, asserting that their candidates have secured the majority of seats and are poised to take the reins of the country.
The Independent candidates backed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) are leading with 52 seats, according to the provincial results released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) so far, Dawn reported.
The ECP has, so far, released the provincial results for 120 out of 266 seats in the National Assembly.
PTI-backed Independent candidates were shown to be leading in 52 seats while the PML-N was a close second with 40 seats, followed by the PPP with 19 seats.
Significantly, Imran Khan was disqualified from contesting the elections in the wake of his convictions in criminal cases.
The electoral symbol of the PTI was also taken away by the ECP in a ruling later backed by the Pakistan apex court.
In the wake of the legal setback, the PTI leaders and supporters decided to contest the polls as independent candidates, Dawn reported.

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