PTI to Replace IK with Khursheed Shah as Opposition Leader

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.”
Varying Positions

“PTI has not made any decision yet. But we feel that Khursheed Shah was continuously ignoring other parties sitting on opposition benches on important issues including matter relate to the chairmanship of NA parliamentary committees. We’ll be taking this issue now,” says PTI Information Secretary MNA Dr Shireen Mazari.

Other parties, including the Awami Muslim League (AML) and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) pledged their support to PTI. 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,” he told The Express Tribune.

Professor Ibrahim of JI also pledged to support PTI, saying his party will also convince party members to vote for PTI in the National Assembly. “We will support PTI at all forums of politics,” he said.

PPP senior leader Ijaz Jakhrani said other parties reserve the right to bring a No-Confidence Motion against Khursheed Shah. “We are ready to face this move because we enjoy maximum numerical strength in the National Assembly.”

The Race to 50

Now, PTI and its allies in the National Assembly will try to replace Khursheed Shah with Imran Khan as new Leader of the Opposition, facing a tight race to gather enough votes among the opposition bench.

The numbers, as always, are tricky

PPP with 45 seats, enjoys the support of Pakistan Muslim League-Q (2 seats) and Awami National Party (2 seats), making a total of 49.

PTI has 35 seats and is aligned with Jamaat-e-Islami (4 seats), Awami Muslim League (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.

The real trick will come after this. PTI Parliamentary Leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi will also try to woo Mahmood Khan Achakzai, the chief of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), sources say, whose party has four seats in the NA.

The catch here is that the PkMAP is allied with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in the Balochistan government. Whether or not they will decide to vote as members of the opposition in the federal government will be a central question in the PTI’s bid for leader of the opposition.

MQM: king-makers again

Though Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has said it will not ally with any party in the opposition, all the math surrounding the PPP-PTI race will be moot if the fourth largest party of the assembly decide to go one way or another. The party holds 24 seats in the National Assembly

MQM spokesperson Wasay Jalil said his party will continue to work in the opposition independently. “Our coordination committee will take up the matter if any move gains momentum in the National Assembly,” he said.

PPP has maintained luke-warm relations with the MQM, but in the face of mounting violence in Karachi, the city’s leading party has had a number of issues with the PPP-led provincial government.

The PTI and MQM have also had a rocky relationship – particularly in the aftermath of the May 11 elections. PTI chief Imran Khan has, on more than one occasion, berated the MQM for its alleged use of violence in Karachi.

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Published: 1496 days ago

Category: News