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Speaker will soon name opposition leader: ARD

October 22, 2003

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ISLAMABAD, Oct 21: National Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Amir Hussain on Tuesday assured representatives of Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD) that he would soon nominate the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly.

The Speaker was talking to a three-member delegation of the ARD who had called on him to protest against his statement that he had not received the list of the supporting MNAs from one of the major opposition groups.

The ARD team comprised President Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, PPP General Secretary Raja Pervez Ashraf and Pir Aftab Shah Jillani.

The Speaker while talking to journalists on Monday had stated that one of the major opposition groups had not submitted its list of the supporting MNAs despite repeated reminders. This claim of the Speaker was immediately rejected by both the major opposition alliances, the MMA and the ARD.

Talking to Dawn in the cafeteria of the Parliament House on Tuesday, Mr Hashmi said that they had gone to the Speaker to seek clarification on his statement. He said the Speaker had told them that he had received the list of the ARD MNAs supporting candidature of Makhdoom Amin Fahim as the Opposition leader.

The ARD president said that the Speaker told them that he made the statement as there was some confusion on the issue.

Secretary of the ARD parliamentary group Izhar Amrohvi said the ARD had submitted the list of MNAs on Aug 13 and a reminder was also sent to the Speaker on Sept 25.

Mr Amrohvi said the Speaker was intentionally delaying the appointment of the Opposition leader in an effort to create rift within the joint opposition.

He said in the first place the Speaker should not have asked various groups on the opposition benches to submit their respective lists of MNAs declaring their support for a particular candidate for the Opposition leader’s slot as there was no such tradition in the past.