PTI seeks MQM support to replace opposition leader

Published September 27, 2017
KARACHI: PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi speaks at a press conference on Tuesday.
KARACHI: PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi speaks at a press conference on Tuesday.

KARACHI: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf formally sought its rival Muttahida Qaumi Move­ment’s help on Tuesday to dethrone current Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah of the Pakistan Peoples Party.

A PTI delegation led by its vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi visited the temporary headquarters of the MQM in Karachi’s Bahadurabad locality and met Dr Farooq Sattar and other leaders to enlist their support for replacing Mr Shah with Mr Qureshi.

There is a provision in the rules and procedures of business of the National Assembly which permits such a change. The opposition parties have to move an application that should bear the signatures of all of their MNAs to prove they have the numbers to replace the incumbent one.

Arch-rivals bury the hatchet as Qureshi meets Sattar

The PTI vice chairman had earlier claimed that the MQM had contacted and offered him support for the removal of the current opposition leader.

As the slot is of much importance for any opposition party, the PTI — which until recently was bitterly critical of the MQM, especially after it voted for Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi — decided to bury the hatchet for now to embrace the MQM’s proposal.

It is binding on a prime minister to have consultation with the leader of the opposition before appointing the chairman of the National Accountability Bureau and formation of a caretaker set-up for next general elections.

With 47 MNAs, the PPP is the single-largest opposition party in the 342-member house, followed by the PTI (32), MQM (24), Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (13) and Jamaat-i-Islami (four), according to party-wise position posted on the NA website.

In theory, the two parties could easily bring Mr Qureshi as new opposition leader since their collective strength in the lower house of parliament is 56.

However, the actual strength of the MQM has shrunk to 22 since MNAs Sufyan Yousuf and Asif Hasnain have parted ways with the party, now known as MQM-Pakistan.

Mr Yousuf left for London a year ago and pledged his allegiance to MQM founder Altaf Hussain, while Mr Hasnain had joined the Mustafa Kamal-led Pak Sarzameen Party.

Similarly, the PTI may lose the support of its estranged MNA Ayesha Gulalai.

Besides, the PPP enjoys support of two Awami National Party MNAs. Although the JUI-F is currently on the government side, the friendship between former president Asif Ali Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman is known to everyone.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Dr Sattar said the MQM and the PTI had been in agreement on several issues during the past four years and as a result of this harmony dialogue between the two parties had just begun.

He said Syed Khursheed Shah and his party played the role of a “friendly opposition” during the past four years. “They never talked about the real problems of the people; instead they raised issues to protect themselves.”

Dr Sattar said the PTI by visiting the MQM headquarters had given a positive message to the people of urban areas of Sindh. “We met the PTI for the sake of our voters and we will keep this relationship for the betterment of the people.”

Mr Qureshi said on the occasion that his party had observed the MQM for the last one year and the latter had proved itself a patriotic party, which distanced itself from the London-based leadership. “Not everyone could understand what the MQM has done by raising the Long Live Pakistan slogan.”

He said that both parties wished free, fair and transparent elections by a caretaker set-up. “The PTI has no problem with any person. We want to continue with this reconciliation process,” he added.

He said that the PTI would continue its consultations with other opposition parties.

Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2017

Opinion

Editorial

Border clashes
19 May, 2024

Border clashes

THE Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier has witnessed another series of flare-ups, this time in the Kurram tribal district...
Penalising the dutiful
19 May, 2024

Penalising the dutiful

DOES the government feel no remorse in burdening honest citizens with the cost of its own ineptitude? With the ...
Students in Kyrgyzstan
19 May, 2024

Students in Kyrgyzstan

BEING stranded on foreign shores is hardly an agreeable experience. And if the environment is hostile — as it...
Ominous demands
Updated 18 May, 2024

Ominous demands

The federal government needs to boost its revenues to reduce future borrowing and pay back its existing debt.
Property leaks
18 May, 2024

Property leaks

THE leaked Dubai property data reported on by media organisations around the world earlier this week seems to have...
Heat warnings
18 May, 2024

Heat warnings

STARTING next week, the country must brace for brutal heatwaves. The NDMA warns of severe conditions with...