Nawaz not yet buying Zardari-for-President deal

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Islamabad, Aug 21 : While MQM chief Altaf Hussain, who lives in exile in London, has supported PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari's candidature for the post of Pakistan President, former premier Nawaz Sharif's party the PML-N has said that it needed to be consulted before the name for the next President was proposed by the ruling coalition as it was one of partners.

In a press release issued from London, Hussain said that Zardari needed to be appreciated for how he handled Musharraf's impeachment issue, and that his party wanted Zardari as president because of his "past sacrifices".

On the other hand, reacting to Zardari's nomination as candidate for Presidency by the PPP, PML-N spokesman Siddiqul Farooq said that his party's principle stance was that the next president should be from a smaller province. He, however, said that it was the right of the PPP to nominate Zardari as a presidential candidate, "but they will have to consult the coalition partners to get the nomination approved".

Earlier, in the day, the biggest coalition partner the PPP decided to nominate Zardari as the next president of the country. The decision had been taken by the top hierarchy of the PPP and the party's Central Executive Committee (CEC) would formally announce the decision after its meeting on Friday, the Daily Times quoted a source close to Zardari House as saying.

"The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) will endorse and second the PPP CEC's recommendation to nominate Asif Zardari as a presidential candidate," the source added.

He said that in return for its support to the PPP, the MQM would continue to hold the office of Sindh Governor besides joining the coalition in the Centre and accepting ministerial slots in the federal cabinet at a later stage.

It has also been learnt that the PPP expects the Awami National Party (ANP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) to also support the PPP CEC's recommendation.

The PML-N, however, wants the next president from Balochistan or NWFP. But the PPP hierarchy insists that the top offices in the country are a right of the major political party.

PML-N spokesman Siddiqul Farooq said that though it was the PPP's right to nominate Zardari as a presidential candidate, "but they will have to consult the coalition partners to get the nomination approved".

ANI

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