Pakistan Elections 2024: Pakistan’s former premier Shehbaz Sharif cleared his stance as to who would be the Prime Minister of the country if his party secured a majority in the ongoing elections. Shehbaz said that his elder brother Nawaz Sharif would become Pakistan’s prime minister if his party got a majority in the parliamentary elections. But in case of a split mandate, the decision about a new leader would be taken after talks with coalition partners, he said. Shehbaz, who is also president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), made the comments while talking to the Geo News.
What would happen if PML-N does not get a majority?
He was asked who would be the next prime minister. “Nawaz Sharif will be the prime minister if we get a simple majority. But in case of a split mandate, the decision will be made after talks with coalition partners,” he said. Shehbaz was also asked if he would prefer to become the prime minister instead of putting the burden of the top job on his brother, who may not be able to discharge responsibilities properly due to advanced age and health issues.
“My response to this question is the same that I gave to dictators on different occasions: that Nawaz Sharif is my leader and prime minister,” he said. Shehbaz has already revealed in different interviews that the powerful establishment on different occasions offered him to become the prime minister instead of his brother, but he always rejected the offer.
The apparent reason for the offer could be that Shehbaz always maintained good ties with the establishment. Shehbaz served as head of the coalition government of more than a dozen parties installed after Imran Khan was voted out in April 2022. He kept the coalition intact and ruled with ease for 16 months until the term of the parliament was over in August.
What experts say
Analysts say there may be no clear winner but the powerful generals could play a role. The military has dominated the nuclear-armed country either directly or indirectly in its 76 years of independence but for several years it has maintained it does not interfere in politics. “The deciding factor is which side the powerful military and its security agencies are on,” said Abbas Nasir, a columnist. “Only a huge turnout in favour of PTI can change its fortunes.”
(With inputs from agencies)
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