Bilawal on joining forces with PML-N: ‘Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me’

“If they were banking on [Peoples Party] to form their government, then it will be tough for them,” PPP chairman says

PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif (right) and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari smile during a press conference in Islamabad on April 7, 2022. — AFP
PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif (right) and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari smile during a press conference in Islamabad on April 7, 2022. — AFP
  • PPP will not join hands with PML-N come what may: Bilawal.
  • Says the PML-N’s narrative of “saving the state” is a “joke”.
  • He says PTI’s legal team’s failures led to party symbol loss.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari Friday flat out refused to form a coalition government with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) post-February 8 general elections.

The PPP and PML-N were major partners in the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) 16-month government that was formed after overthrowing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government in April 2022.

However, as the general elections draw near, the PPP has been on a rampage against its former coalition partners, blaming the PML-N for the skyrocketing inflation and economic mismanagement in the short-term government.

Geo News’ Shahzad Iqbal asked Bilawal during an interview that the PML-N is eyeing to secure major seats in the National Assembly from Punjab, but if it does not succeed, it would need the PPP to come back into power in the centre.

In response, Bilawal said: “Who told you that the PPP will form a coalition government with them [PML-N]? I have stated this before as well: ‘Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me’.”

“If they were banking on the [PPP] to form their government, then it will be tough for them,” Bilawal said, as he noted that the PML-N is not in a good position in Punjab as it has been in the past.

Bilawal said that people from across the spectrum are against PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif becoming the prime minister for the fourth time. He noted that his party would bring independent candidates into their fold to form a government and elect its premier.

Recalling the PDM’s tenure, the PPP chief blamed the PML-N for not following up on the commitments made with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which put the country at stake.

“Their decision hurt the economy,” he said, terming the PML-N leaders’ narrative of “sacrificing politics for saving the state” a “joke”.

Moving on to the Imran Khan-led PTI, Bilawal said as a democratic politician, he is not in favour of any party’s electoral symbol being taken away as it is crucial to any campaign.

“I would not want it; however, it is written in the law that a party should hold internal polls. When the PTI was in the government, they were told to hold intra-party elections,” Bilawal, who served as the foreign minister in PDM’s tenure, said.

The PPP chief said PTI’s lawyers came to the Supreme Court for two days unprepared, which led to them losing their symbol. “Party workers had to bear this loss because of PTI’s legal team,” he added.

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