PPP comfortable with Nawaz Sharif as PM: Zardari

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Islamabad, Feb 20 (UNI) Hinting at the possibility of the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) coming together to form the next government, PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari said his party could accept Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister.

''My party is comfortable with the idea of Nawaz Sharif becoming the Prime Minister,'' he told private Indian TV channel CNN-IBN in an interview.

Contending that both the parties could come together for governance, Mr Zardari said as no party had got a clear mandate, there is a need for reaching out to all parties and he is relying on Nawaz Sharif ''to do that.'' His comment comes a day before he engages the PML-N chief in a crucial meeting on their future course of action.

However, not ruling out arriving at a modus vivendi with the embattled President Pervez Musharraf, he confirmed that he had not met him yet, ''but is open to having a dialogue with him.'' Terming the poll results a victory for assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and the family, he expressed satisfaction with the poll results as the party ''fought against all odds.'' ''I take it as a new challenge to build democracy in Pakistan,'' he said.

However, he said he wasn't sure if his party would be in power or in opposition. ''PPP was the single largest party last time also yet couldn't form the government,'' he recalled.

Mr Zardari, who had earlier said his desire to emulate the role of United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi in India, reiterated he was not interested in heading the government.

''I'm nowhere near Sonia Gandhi, but would like to follow her footsteps,'' he disclosed.

The PPP is the largest party in the 272-member National Assembly with 87 seats, followed by the PML(N) with 64, while the former ruling party -- the PML (Q)-- languishes at the third position with 38. The rest have been won by smaller parties and independents.

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