PPP wants PML-N to back Aitzaz in return for endorsing Shehbaz as opposition leader

ECP has scheduled the presidential elections for September 4

RIAZ UL HAQ August 19, 2018
Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan. PHOTO: FILE

Former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif is all set to become leader of the opposition in the National Assembly after over 100 lawmakers endorsed him for the slot.

After lots of political bickering seen during the election to the leader of the house between the two leading political parties – Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) - the environment has changed altogether.

According to PPP officials, they have submitted signatures of their lawmakers with Speaker Asad Qaiser, recommending Shehbaz as leader of the opposition in the lower house of parliament.

PPP’s Nafisa Shah told The Express Tribune that they recommended Shehbaz because the PML-N is the second largest party in the house and therefore it was their right and “we do not want to create any hurdles in their way”.

“Our Chairman Bilawal Bhutto has signed the nomination and showed his grace towards the PML-N by recommending Shehbaz for the slot,” Shah said, adding; however, in return the PPP wants the PML-N to support our candidate for the office of president of Pakistan.

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According to the speaker’s office, over 100 members from the opposition have submitted the nomination with their signatures. The formal notification will be issued on Monday (today).

The PPP had stayed away from voting for Shehbaz during election to the leader of the house against Imran Khan. “Not all of us (54 members) but many of us who were present on Thursday submitted the nomination,” Shah said.

The PPP on Sunday announced fielding former senator and senior party leader Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan against PTI’s Arif Alvi.

“Ahsan has been nominated keeping his struggle for federalism and democracy and we will now seek other parties’ support for him,” she concluded.

The Awami National Party has appreciated the PPP’s move in a press note.

“The nomination of Shehbaz is a welcome move that will go a long way bringing opposition parties on a united stand,” the note said, adding the PPP candidate was better compared to the PTI’s.

Former Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Haider Khan Hoti is lone lawmaker representing the ANP in the National Assembly.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced that presidential elections would be held on September 4.

A notification issued by the commission outlined the procedure for presidential poll in pursuance of provisions contained in paragraphs 1 and 3 of the Second Schedule read with clause (3) and (5) of the Constitution.

The nomination forms will be available at the ECP Secretariat and the offices of provincial election commissioners. The nomination papers will be submitted to presiding officers in Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar, Lahore and Quetta by 12pm on August 27 and the presiding officers -- include provincial chief justices of high courts.

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The scrutiny will begin on August 29 while the candidates will have until noon August 30 to withdraw after which the final list will be made public on the same day.

Polling will be conducted from 10am to 4pm on September 4 at the Parliament House in Islamabad and provincial assemblies in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta.

Members of the NA and four provincial assemblies would be the voters in the election of the 13th president. The incumbent president was appointed by PML-N in September 2013.

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