PTI Mulls Three Names For Opposition Leader

MWM says it may nominate a joint candidate for the leader of the opposition should the PTI-backed independents align with them

PTI Mulls Three Names For Opposition Leader

As the five-party coalition - a new PDM 2.0 - gears up to take over the reins of power in the centre, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, for the moment, has been consigned to the opposition benches. Even as it remains firm on being allowed to form a government, the party has started contemplating names for the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly.

At the moment, sources in the PTI suggest to The Friday Times that there are three names in the hat for the position of the opposition leader. 

Shorn of its first and second-tier leadership, the party is looking to available leaders who have been vocal and critical in managing party affairs in the absence of their leadership. These names include vocal lawyer and leader Sher Afzal Khan Marwat, Ali Muhammad Khan and former federal minister of state Shehryar Afridi.

Former prime minister Imran Khan, who remains incarcerated in the Adiala Jail, is expected to approve the name for the opposition leader in the national assembly this week.

The PTI has already seemingly driven itself into a dead end after it rebuffed an offer from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to form a government in the centre, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, remaining firm that it had sufficient seats to form a government in the centre on their own as long as rigged seats are overturned.

The PPP and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had publicly stated they would be interested in forming a government with the independents. But when they were turned away, Bilawal stated they had no other option but to pursue a coalition with the PML-N.

The PTI has now hinted at attracting allies in the centre but not from any of the major parties.

The Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM), a registered party that won a seat, intends to unconditionally support the PTI as it sits on the opposition benches. The PTI-backed independents could register with the MWM in the coming days.

"We are in touch with PTI's senior leadership. We may also jointly nominate our leader of the house in the national assembly," MWM's Nasir Abbas Shirazi told The Friday Times.

The PTI-backed independents got 93 seats, the PML-N bagged 73 seats, the PPP 54, MQM-P 17, PML-Q three, JUI-F three, MWM one, IPP two, PML-Z one, and BNP (Mengal) one.

These figures changed after some independents joined the PPP and the PML-N. They could change even more this week as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced re-polling in several polling stations for February 15. This includes re-polling at 26 polling stations of NA-88 Khushab-II (Punjab) after a crowd torched voting material. 

The commission will hold re-polling for PS-18 Ghotki-I (Sindh) and PK-90 Kohat-I (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa).