The 33-year-old scion of the Bhutto-Zardari family — who is the front-runner for the coveted post of the foreign minister — did not take the oath on Tuesday, giving rise to speculation about his reluctance to join the new government.
Qamar Zaman Kaira, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan, in a conversation with journalists in London, confirmed that Bilawal will take oath as the foreign minister in a day or two.
A day after he excused himself from taking the oath as the foreign minister, Bilawal headed to London where he met Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif during which they discussed the “overall political situation” in Pakistan and vowed to work together on issues pertaining to politics and national interest.
PPP and PML-N — the two main political parties — have been alternatively in power when the military was not ruling the country. The powerful Army has ruled the coup-prone country for more than half of its 75 plus years of existence.
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb had earlier assured that the PPP Chairman would take the oath after he returns to Pakistan.
Kaira told reporters that Bilawal had left for Pakistan after he held two meetings with the PML-N supremo to exchange views on political matters, the Geo report said.
The PPP is the second-largest party in the current coalition government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif who was appointed on April 11.
In their meeting, Nawaz Sharif and Bilawal — the two key allies in the ruling coalition — discussed ways forward after a “constitutional victory for democracy, the rule of law and supremacy of parliament” and agreed to work closely to “repair the rot across the board,” read a joint statement.
The joint statement said that during the meeting both leaders agreed that they have accomplished a great deal whenever they work together.
Matters relating to the broad roadmap for the future with the consensus of all democratic forces and the unfinished business left on the “Charter of Democracy” were also discussed in the meeting.
“It was also agreed that high-level summitry is needed to brainstorm the path ahead for a new charter,” read the statement.
“There was a strong realisation that the people of Pakistan have suffered greatly at the disastrous economic mismanagement and unprecedented incompetence of the PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) government, all of which needs to be addressed and repaired,” the statement said.
The “joint goals will focus on reversing in phases the drastic economic slide that Imran Khan has taken the country down on, the terrible blunders and self-serving trade-offs on foreign policy, as well as healing the deep scars from assaults made on the country’s democratic system,” it said.
Although there was speculation that the PPP wanted more stake in the government, sources privy to the meeting confirmed that Bilawal and Nawaz Sharif did not discuss anything related to the posts of Senate, Punjab governor or presidency during their meetings, the Geo report said.
Nawaz Sharif — against whom several corruption cases were launched by the government of former prime minister Imran Khan — had left for London in November 2019 after the Lahore High Court granted him four weeks of permission allowing him to go abroad for his treatment.
The 72-year-old former prime minister had given an undertaking to the Lahore High Court to return to Pakistan, citing his record to face the process of law and justice within four weeks or as soon as he is declared healthy and fit to travel by doctors. Nawaz Sharif was also given bail in the Al-Azizia Mills corruption case in which he was serving seven-year imprisonment in Lahore’s high-security Kot Lakhpat jail.