ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) sounds optimistic that it would soon secure support of PML-Q and MQM to replace Syed Khursheed Shah as Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly.
According to party sources, negotiations with PML-Q were at a final stage while contacts with MQM would be established during the forthcoming National Assembly session.
The sources said that PTI senior leader Assad Ummer has been assigned the tasks to cultivate the MQM, while talks with PML-Q are already underway.
The move comes apparently after PTI was annoyed with Khursheed for not taking its leadership on board on the issue of appointment of NAB chairman.
Other parties, including the Awami Muslim League (AML) and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), have pledged their support to PTI in this regard. AML chief Sheikh Rashid said that Khursheed Shah has failed to deliver, and that he is siding with the government on important issues. “I’ll not only support PTI’s move but also convince other colleagues to vote for changing the incumbent opposition leader in the National Assembly,” said Rashid.
Prof. Ibrahim of JI also pledged to support PTI, saying his party will also convince his party members to vote for PTI in the National Assembly. “We will support PTI at all forums of politics,” he said.
Clause 39-A of Chapter Five of Rules of Procedure of National Assembly reads: “A notice signed by a majority of the members of the opposition may be given to the Secretary showing that the leader of the opposition has lost the support of the majority of the members of the opposition. Such notice shall be accompanied by the nomination of a proposed new leader of the opposition signed by a majority of the members of the opposition.”
Khursheed Shah who belongs to PPPP was notified as Leader of Opposition in National Assembly after it emerged as largest opposition party in the House, but his position is now being challenged by PTI has gained more seats in the recent bye-elections.
PPP with 45 seats enjoys the support of PML-Q (2 seats) and Awami National Party (2 seats), making a total of 49.
PTI has 35 seats and is aligned with JI (4 seats), AML (1 seat), Qaumi Watan Party (Sherpao) (1 seat), Awami Jamhuri Ittehad Pakistan (1 seat), All Pakistan Muslim League (1 seat) and two independent seats, Jamshed Dasti from Muzaffargarh and Zain Elahi from Attock - making a total of 45.
PTI needs 50 seats to gain a majority of opposition seats in the NA. For this, PTI is hopeful of winning the support of four independent seats from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to equal PPP’s count.
“We will persuade MQM which enjoys 24 seats in National Assembly. If we succeed in wooing the MQM, there will be a real tough opposition in the National Assembly,” a senior PTI leader told The Nation on Friday.