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PPP wants Imran to become opposition leader

Imran Khan

Pakistan, Islamabad News : The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is expected to nominate Syed Khurshid Shah as leader of the opposition in the upcoming National Assembly (NA).

Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) Secretary General, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, put his weight in favour of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.

“In the given circumstances and the way the election campaign was run, I think Imran Khan is the natural choice to become the opposition leader,” Senator Mushahid told.

He said the PML-Q would talk to the former ruling party to pave way for Imran Khan.
The PPP’s sources said the former ruling party would be unlikely to abandon the important slot of opposition leader after disastrous election results.

They said Khurshid Shah, who was party’s chief whip in the last National Assembly, is the most favorite at the moment. The party leadership would also deliberate if Makhdoom Amin Fahim should be given that slot.

Fahim has the reputation of being laidback and normally keeps himself from controversies. The PPP wants an energetic leader to safeguard its interests inside the lower house of the parliament, now dominated by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

“Khurshid Shah is very active. He also has developed good rapport with the PML-N. He would keep the opposition intact and make sure his party is not hounded as part of political victimization,” a senior PPP leader said.

The PPP and the PTI are going neck-to-neck in National Assembly seats, but PPP also enjoys the support of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), which bagged 17 direct seats in the elections.

The largest opposition group would submit a signed declaration to the NA speaker while nominating the opposition leader.
“The speaker shall declare a member as Leader of the Opposition having the greatest numerical strength after the verification of the signatures of the members,” reads Rule 39 (3) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007.

So under the rules even if PTI manages to surpass the numerical strength of PPP, it would require help from other parties. The PTI chief has already announced his party would not join hands with any party of the former ruling coalition.

Asked to comment on the reasons of the former ruling coalition’s defeat, Senator Mushahid said power outages and economic crises doomed them all. “It’s part of the game. Those defeated would live to fight another day. Remember the PML-N got only 17 (NA) seats in 2002 general elections,” he added.

He advised Nawaz Sharif not to indulge in old controversies like opening a fresh inquiry into the Kargil debacle or the Mumbai attacks. “He should look forward, otherwise there would be problems for everyone,” he said.

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