25 members ‘coalition’ federal cabinet likely in initial phase

LAHORE: Hectic parleys are underway between the PML-N, PPP and the MQM-P for the formation of a coalition government in the Centre, and initially, the new federal cabinet is likely to be comprised of 25 members in the first phase.

According to insiders in the PML-N, the party has outlined an initial power-sharing formula for the upcoming federal government. The formula suggests that if the coalition agrees to appoint a PML-N candidate as the prime minister, the posts of the president and National Assembly speaker would be given to the PPP.

Yesterday, Shehbaz emerged as a leading contender for the premiership, garnering support from former coalition partners, including PPP, MQM-P, PML-Q, BAP, and IPP.

Nawaz Sharif strategically nominated his younger brother for the premiership and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, for the role of Punjab chief minister.

A joint news conference held in Islamabad featured prominent political figures, including Shehbaz, Asif Ali Zardari from PPP, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui from MQM-P, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain from PML-Q, Sadiq Sanjrani (representing BAP), and Aleem Khan from IPP. They expressed unequivocal support for Shehbaz and pledged to address the country’s challenges collaboratively in a coalition government.

On Wednesday, the PML-N leadership – Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif – held a crucial meeting to review the party’s interactions with various allies and considered the names of potential cabinet members.

During the meeting, Shehbaz Sharif briefed his elder brother on the party’s alliances and deliberated on potential candidates for the federal cabinet. In the first phase, the cabinet is expected to have 25 members, with MQM-P likely to secure three to five ministries.

Leaders from MQM-P, including Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Farooq Sattar, Mustafa Kamal, Aminul Haque, and Khawaja Izharul Hasan, are being considered for key positions within the federal cabinet, according to PML-N sources.

PML-N has shortlisted 15 senior leaders for ministerial roles, including Ishaq Dar, Ayaz Sadiq, Khawaja Asif, Ahsan Iqbal, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Attaullah Tarar, Shaza Fatima Khawaja, Riazul Haq Juj, Bilal Azhar Kayani, Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, Qamarul Islam Raja, and Rana Tanveer Hussain.

Awn Chaudry from the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) is expected to be appointed as the special assistant to the prime minister.

While the details of the power-sharing formula remain undisclosed, the conference hinted at Zardari’s potential candidacy for the presidency in the near future.

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