Former Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif's PML-N would support a PPP-led government from outside as it does not want to be part of an administration with President Pervez Musharraf in power, party leaders said on Tuesday.
The PML-N was not seeking "any share in the ministry or government" to be formed at the centre but would support the Pakistan People's Party's (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 President (Pervez) Musharraf."
Both Khan and Iqbal said the PML-N had set no conditions for supporting the PPP to form a government at the centre.
Asked what would be the working relationship between the two parties, Iqbal said the PML-N will "respect the PPP's mandate for forming a government at the centre" and "would not let its government be destabilised".
Khan also said the PML-N's top leadership had informed the PPP about their reservations on the proposal to include the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), which backs Musharraf, in the federal government.
PML-N chief Sharif and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari had last week announced plans to cooperate in forming coalition governments at the centre and in the four provinces after their parties emerged as the largest groups in the National Assembly in the February 18 general election.
During their joint news conference, Sharif had evaded a direct reply to a question on whether the PML-N would be part of the federal government and said this would be worked out at a later stage.
PML-N sources on Tuesday admitted that the party was considering to support a PPP-led government from outside.
Besides their differences on the move to include the MQM in the federal government, the PML-N and PPP are holding hectic consultations to reach common ground on the issue of reinstating judges who were deposed by Musharraf during last year's emergency rule.
The reinstatement of the judges is a key demand raised by Sharif and the PPP has said the matter should be decided by the new Parliament.
PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar said his party will strengthen Parliament by removing changes made in the Constitution through an executive order.
Referring to the differences between the PPP and PML-N over the MQM's inclusion in the government, PPP Information Secretary Sherry Rehman said, "we will cross that bridge when we come to it. Mian Nawaz Sharif has said he will look at it in a broader sense."
Rehman also said the PPP is "not seeking to buttress our numbers at the centre with the PML-N's support".
The PPP wants "to share real power" with the PML-N "to make a difference" and implement the promises made in the Charter of Democracy that was signed by Sharif and slain PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto some years ago, Rehman said.