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Thursday June 13, 2024

In a first, Sindh Assembly appoints woman opposition leader

MQM-P's Rana Ansar becomes first woman to hold post of leader of opposition in provincial assembly

By Kamran Razi & Rana Javaid
July 26, 2023
Members of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly present the application for Haleem Adil Sheikhs removal as opposition leader and MQM-Ps Rana Ansars elevation to the post. — Reporter/Rana Javaid
Members of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly present the application for Haleem Adil Sheikh's removal as opposition leader and MQM-P's Rana Ansar's elevation to the post. — Reporter/Rana Javaid

KARACHI: In a blow to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Mutahida Quami Movement-Pakistan’s (MQM-P) Rana Ansar has been appointed the opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly.

With the appointment, Ansar has also become the first woman to hold the post.

A notification issued by the assembly’s secretariat, de-notified PTI's Haleem Adil Sheikh as the opposition leader after he lost the backing of lawmakers. The same notification also notified Ansar as the opposition leader.

This is the third time that the opposition leader has been changed in the provincial assembly during the current tenure.

The notification was issued after the MQM-Pakistan submitted an application to Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani earlier today for Ansar’s appointment as the opposition leader.

The application had the backing of 38 opposition lawmakers, comprising 21 MQM-P lawmakers, and 14 Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) MPAs. While nine disgruntled lawmakers of the PTI also supported Ansar’s elevation to the opposition leader’s office.

The MQM-P, which is part of the government in the Centre, had been making moves to take the opposition leader’s seat in the Sindh Assembly.

A day earlier, it managed to win the support of the GDA which paved the way for Ansar to become the opposition leader.

The announcement was made at a joint press conference of the GDA and MQM-P leaders after a delegation of the latter comprising the party’s senior deputy conveners Dr Farooq Sattar and Syed Mustafa Kamal, and MPAs Khawaja Izharul Hassan and Ansar called on GDA General Secretary Dr Safdar Ali Abbasi, Information Secretary Sardar Abdul Rahim and other leaders at the Functional League House.

The GDA on Saturday authorised a two-member committee comprising Dr Abbasi and Rahim to hold talks and make a decision regarding the leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly.

Speaking to the media after Saturday’s meeting, GDA Chief Coordinator Sadaruddin Shah Rashdi remarked that the GDA was not part of the PTI as the alliance had contested the general elections separately.

The GDA was part of the PTI-led federal government before Imran Khan was removed from power through the no-confidence motion. The alliance did not ditch the PTI even when the latter’s other allies such as the MQM-P supported the no-confidence move against Imran and became allies of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in the new federal government.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the GDA agreed on supporting the MQM-P for the position of the leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly who has to play a key role in the formation of the caretaker government as according to the Constitution, the caretaker chief minister has to be appointed through consultations between the leader of the House and the leader of the opposition. In case the two fail to reach an agreement, the decision has to be taken by the Election Commission of Pakistan.