M A I N   N E W S

Only outside support to PPP: PML-N
Rezaul H. Laskar

Islamabad, February 26
Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N today said it would not join the planned PPP-led coalition government in Pakistan but would extend outside support in the clearest sign yet on its role after the two opposition parties joined hands after sweeping victories.

The reason cited by the PML-N was that it would not like to be in the Cabinet when Pervez Musharraf remains as President.

Embattled Pervez Musharraf, meanwhile, got the backing of US President George W. Bush as he faced calls for his resignation after the defeat of his allies in the recent elections. Bush has given his “continued” support to Musharraf, a White House official said in Washington.

The PML-N was not seeking “any share in the ministry or government” to be formed at the centre but would support the PPP administration to implement its agenda and fulfil all commitments made by the two parties in their election campaign, spokesman Ahsan Iqbal said.

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, a senior leader of the party and a close aide of Sharif, also said at a news conference: “The PML-N will not become part of the federal Cabinet as we do not want to take oath under the administration of Musharraf.”

Asked what would be the working relationship between the two parties, Iqbal said the PML-N would “respect the PPP’s mandate for forming a government at the center would not let its government be destabilised”. There were also reports that Sharif was advised by US ambassador Anne Patterson not to oppose Musharraf.

In Washington, White House press secretary Dana Perino said: “It will be up to the people of Pakistan to see what their new government will look like. But the President (George Bush) does certainly support him (Musharraf) and has continued to.” — PTI



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