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ISLAMABAD, June 21: The opposition PML-N accused PPP’s coalition partners on Thursday of being equally responsible for the prevailing crisis in the country, but at the same time indirectly sought their support for its candidate for the office of prime minister.

“The role of coalition parties (of the PPP) is very crucial. The nation will be watching who puts his weight where — on one side there are problems of loadshedding, corruption and disobedience to court orders and on the other there are people who are protesting against loadshedding,” said PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif at a news conference after presiding over a meeting of the party’s parliamentary group at the Punjab House.

He alleged that prime ministers were being sacrificed only to save Rs6 billion stashed in Swiss bank accounts. “How many prime ministers will be made scapegoats only to protect the corrupt?”

Mr Sharif regretted that the PPP had already declared that the new prime minister also would not write any letter to the Swiss authorities for reopening the money laundering case against President Zardari.

“They are not taking any moral high ground,” he said, adding that it was actually a ‘dirty cause’ and people resented it.

The PML-N chief alleged that the PPP had put the entire democratic set-up in danger to protect the money that had been taken as “commissions and kickbacks”.

Defending his party’s decision to challenge the speaker’s ruling (on the issue of Yousuf Raza Gilani’s disqualification) before the Supreme Court, he said he had done so with a heavy heart and only when he saw that parliament was not playing its role in carrying out accountability. He said the court had provided an opportunity to the speaker and parliament to play their role, but this was not done.

Mr Sharif said the SC decision was “unprecedented” because previously such situations had led to military takeovers.

Formally announcing the name of Sardar Mahtab Ahmed Khan Abbasi as his party’s candidate for the office of prime minister, the PML-N chief outlined five major challenges which were needed to be dealt with immediately.

The challenges, he said, were restoration of the shattered economy, resolving the energy crisis, implementation of court orders and controlling the law and order situation in Balochistan and Karachi.

Meanwhile, a PML-N delegation led by Leader of Opposition in the Senate Ishaq Dar met JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman to persuade him to withdraw his candidature for the office of prime minister.

When contacted, Mr Dar said that the PML-N was determined to contest the election even if Maulana Fazlur Rehman stayed in the field.