The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) will hold talks with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) in Karachi on Tuesday, September 26, aimed at removing Khursheed Shah of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) as Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly.
If the talks succeed, PTI will seek MQM’s endorsement for naming Imran Khan as a joint candidate for opposition leader in the lower house, a senior party leader said.
However, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who will lead the PTI in the talks with the MQM-P, believes it is too premature to name anyone for the post.
“At this stage, the two parties will only consider if they can garner enough votes in the National Assembly to make the move successful,” Qureshi, the PTI Vice-Chairman, told The Express Tribune.
The MQM-P – which floated the idea of bringing a new opposition leader in the National Assembly – has suggested Qureshi’s name for the post.
However, Qureshi said it was for Imran Khan, the chairman, to nominate any PTI lawmaker for the post. He added that no opposition party, including the PTI, was in a position to decide who would be the next opposition leader.
“If the PTI and the MQM can manage support of other opposition parties, we can then decide about the possible candidate,” Qureshi added.
Led by Qureshi, the PTI delegation, which is to meet MQM-P leaders in Karachi on Tuesday, will include MNA Asad Umar, Imran Ismail and Firdous Naqvi.
Qureshi said he had already talked to the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). “Both these parties have indicated that they are open for discussion in this regard,” he added.
He said he did not know what the MQM-P leaders had in their mind, but both the parties had reservations about Shah’s performance as opposition leader.
A senior MQM-P leader, who wished not to be named, said his party would never agree to Imran Khan’s name for opposition leader “given his inflexible attitude and negative views towards the MQM”.
He said the MQM-P and other opposition parties had worked with PTI’s Qureshi, and most opposition parties would not hesitate to endorse his name for the slot.
A PTI MNA close to Imran Khan, however, categorically said: “One thing is very clear … Imran Khan will be the only option for the PTI.”
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