PML-N’s Zafarul Haq, former leader of the house, replaces Sherry Rehman as the leader of Opp, calls first opposition meeting today
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Senator Shibli Faraz on Sunday was appointed as the leader of the house while Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Raja Zafarul Haq was named as the leader of the opposition in the Senate.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had nominated Faraz as his party’s nominee for leader of the house slot on Saturday, whereas PML-N had forwarded the name of Zafarul Haq for the slot of leader of the opposition in the upper house of the parliament.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan is pleased to appoint Senator Syed Shibli Faraz to act as the leader of the house to represent the government and to regulate government business in the Senate with effect from August 24,” said a notification issued by the Senate Secretariat following Shibli’s appointment.
As per the Rule 2(1) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate, 2012, “The leader of the house shall be the prime minister or a member appointed by him to represent the government and to regulate the government business in the Senate when the prime minister is not sitting in the house”.
Shibli Faraz has been a member of the Senate since 2015. His uncle, Barrister Syed Masood Kausar, has served as the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) governor while his father, Ahmad Faraz, was an acclaimed poet. The PTI legislator had also served as the chairman of committees on circular debt and commerce and textile.
Talking to APP, Senator Shibli Faraz on Saturday extended his gratitude for his nomination to PM Khan.
“I am grateful to my leader Imran Khan for reposing trust in me. It is a great challenge and responsibility as the leader of the house has to bear the harsh criticism of the opposition especially when one’s party [along with its allies] has a slim representation in the house,” he said.
“The leader of the house should have patience and a big heart to take biting criticism of the opposition and engage with them to enable forging of consensus for progressive and healthy legislation”, he added.
Meanwhile, Haq, who previously served as the leader of the house, replaced Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) Senator Sherry Rehman with effect from Aug 24, according to the notification.
Haq had been a contender for the election of Senate chairman against Sadiq Sanjrani earlier this year but lost by 11 votes. PPP and other like-minded parties, including PTI had supported Sanjrani’s election as Senate chairman in March. PPP also got elected its own Senator Saleem Mandviwala as the deputy chairman.
Following the notification appointing both leaders to the top slots, former leader of opposition Sherry Rehman congratulated them in a tweet. “I hope they both remember the best service to democracy lies in serving public interests via legislation, debate, good governance and parliamentary probity,” she wrote.
PML-N sought to replace Rehman days after the election for prime minister in the National Assembly (NA). PPP had withdrawn its support for PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif during the election, abstaining from voting ─ a move that caused a rift in the opposition parties’ alliance.
The so-called grand opposition alliance appears to be crumbling as PML-N and PPP are facing difficulties regarding major decisions, including presidential candidates.
PPP had earlier nominated Aitzaz Ahsan as its candidate and attempted to convince other opposition parties in the 11-party Pakistan Alliance for Free and Fair Elections to support him. The opposition parties, at a meeting in Murree on Saturday, had rejected Ahsan as a candidate, but said they were ready to back a candidate other than him.
HAQ CALLS HIS FIRST MEETING AS OPPOSITION LEADER:
Haq, after assuming the role of the opposition leader in the Senate, has called the first meeting between PML-N’s parliamentary party and the alliance on Monday.
During the meeting, the course of action to be taken by the opposition in the Senate will be charted out.
“Discussions will be held on how to give PTI government a tough time in the Senate,” said a source within PML-N.
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