ISLAMABAD:Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq Friday declared Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Syed Khursheed Shah as the Leader of the Opposition.
The decision was taken in pursuance of the Rule 39 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007. A notification, in this regard, was also issued by the NA secretariat on Friday.
The PPP had won 124 out of the total 342 National Assembly in 2008 general elections, but managed to win only 41 in 2013, making it the second largest political party after Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
During the last five years, Shah was the chief whip of PPP in the house and was one of the few members of the ruling party who attended the most number lower house sessions.
According to the Election Commission of Pakistan, PPP has won only two general seats in Punjab and 31 from its traditional stronghold Sindh. After winning 33 general seats, the party was allocated seven reserved seats for women and one reserved seat for minorities.
Election results suggested that a possible alliance between the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) which has 35 seats and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) which has 23 seats could have denied PPP from the leader of the opposition slot but this did not happen.
According to legal experts, the opposition leader has as crucial role as the Prime Minister and is constitutionally bound to consult him on several matters including the appointment of chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB), formation of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), appointment of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and most importantly appointment of caretaker prime minister.
In addition, the opposition leader also bears a role in parliamentary committee for the appointment of superior courts judges through the 18th Constitutional Amendment.
During the last five years, the PPP government has laid foundation of a new practice by appointing leader of the opposition as Chairman Public Accounts Committee (PAC) first.
Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had officiated as Chairman PAC, but had resigned from the office after differences with the government over the appointment of a handpicked Auditor General of Pakistan.