MQM files application for opposition benches in Sindh Assembly


Amid shutdown and protests against the bombing on Hazara community in Quetta, politics in the provincial capital remained intense on Monday as the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), which recently parted ways with the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), filed an application for the allotment of opposition benches in the Sindh Assembly.

Interestingly, Sindh Assembly (SA) Speaker Nisar Khuhro hinted that the opposition leader in the assembly would be from the MQM, which recently announced quitting the federal as well as provincial governments in an abrupt manner – a move considered by political experts as “pre-planned”.

After parting ways with the PPP, the MQM leadership met the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) leadership, which requested the former that it should support their leader – MPA Nusrat Sehar Abbasi – for the slot of opposition leader, besides withdrawing the controversial Local Government Act 2012. However, the filing of application by the MQM and the hint by the SA speaker clear reflect that the opposition leader would be from the MQM despite the fact that the PML-F had been trying to get the opposition benches for the last couple of weeks.

The MQM delegation, headed by parliamentary leader Sardar Ahmed and Dr Saghir Ahmed, handed over the applications to the SA speaker and secretary, seeking allotment of the opposition benches. The speaker asked them to meet him at his residence on Tuesday to discuss future course of action.

Meanwhile, leaders of the PML-F and the National People’s Party (NPP) headed by Jam Madad Ali also visited the SA speaker, seeking allotment of opposition benches.

Talking to journalists, the speaker said that he had called the PML-F to verify the signatures of the opposition members for their candidate for opposition leader, Nusrat Sehar Abbasi. However, Khuhro added that the MQM had a large number of members in the assembly as compared to Abbasi, who had only ten supporters.

As per rules, MQM would be given the slot of opposition leader however the whole picture would be uncovered in the coming days. The PML-F was delayed the allotment of opposition benches as Abbasi had approached the court, which had referred the matter to the speaker, Khuhro added.

According to Khawaja Izharul Haq, the MQM ministers have vacated their offices and they have also returned their official vehicles. Dr Sagheer Ahmed said that his party would play an effective role in the opposition.

PML-F’s Jam Madad Ali said that it was MQM’s right to sit on opposition benches due to its majority in the Sindh Assembly, however, it should support Abbasi for opposition leader on moral grounds. The PML-F had filed the application a month ago and the MQM should extend support to his party’s member for becoming the opposition leader, he added.