ISLAMABAD: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Monday submitted an application in the National Assembly to sit on the opposition benches.
An application was also submitted in the Senate secretariat to sit on occupation benches in the Upper House.
On Sunday, the MQM decided to sit on the opposition benches in parliament, leaving Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as Leader of the House without a majority.
This was the second jolt suffered by the Pakistan People’s Party in a fortnight as the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F (JUI-F) led by Maulana Fazlur Rehman had quit the 32-month-old coalition government over the sacking of its minister against the backdrop of a Haj scam.
MQM’s decision to become a part of the opposition along with its arch rival Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) has made the political crisis more complex as political analysts see little chance of the emergence of a united opposition in view of the tense relationship between the two parties whose leaders last week took their war of words beyond civility while criticising each other’s leaders.
With the MQM members sitting on opposition benches, Prime Minister Gilani will be left with the support of only 160 members — 12 less than the required strength to maintain his position as leader of the house in the 342-member assembly.