Pakistan Peoples Party chairman and former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Monday said he would not become the country’s top diplomat under Nawaz Sharif if the ex-prime minister comes back to power in Thursday’s election.
The 35-year-old son of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto became the country’s youngest foreign minister in 2022, in the coalition government led by Shehbaz Sharif, the younger brother of Nawaz Sharif, which was formed after ousting Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party in a no-confidence vote in Parliament earlier that month.
In an interview with Independent Urdu, Bilawal said it would be difficult for him to join hands with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party if it came to power after the February 8 polls.
“I will not become foreign minister if Nawaz comes to power again, I can’t participate in the same old politics. If he breaks away from that and creates an environment that benefits democracy in the country, then I can stand with that,” he was quoted as saying.
Bilawal said both major political parties, other than the PPP, engage in politics of hatred and division. “It feels like having to choose between the devil and deep blue sea,” he said, adding that he hoped the PPP was able to form the government on its own.
Bilawal in another interview said his party is not seeking an electoral alliance with any party but is contesting elections based on its manifesto.
Speaking to Voice of America Urdu, the PPP chairman expressed hopes for political stability in the country and Pakistan moving in “a positive direction”.
A few days ago, Bilawal took a swipe at Nawaz Sharif and said that “giving an impression” of pre-decided results of the upcoming general elections is “an insult to the people” of Pakistan. He criticised the three-time former prime minister for “not campaigning enough”.
Bilawal, whose father Asif Ali Zardari served as the 11th president of Pakistan from September 2008 to September 2013, made the comments in a podcast interview, according to the Dawn newspaper.
Sharif is the only Pakistani politician who became the prime minister of the coup-prone country for a record three times. However, each term has ended with his ousting from power, in 1993, 1999 and 2017.
The February 8 elections are taking place for 336 seats in the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, along with four provincial assemblies. About 18,000 candidates are in the race for the National Assembly and the four provincial assemblies in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.