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January 21, 2021

Firdous Shamim Naqvi resigns as Sindh Assembly’s opposition leader

Karachi

January 21, 2021

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s senior leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi on Wednesday submitted his resignation to the Sindh Assembly secretary as the Sindh Assembly’s opposition leader. PTI has appointed Haleem Adil Shaikh to succeed him as the opposition leader.

However, media reports suggest that the leadership of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P), which is one of the allies of PTI and its coalition partner in the federal government, has expressed reservations over Shaikh’s nomination for the post.

Bilal Ghaffar, an MPA from Karachi, has already been made the PTI parliamentary leader in the Sindh Assembly, a post which Shaikh had when Naqvi was serving as the opposition leader. Talking to the media after submitting his resignation, Naqvi said the responsibility of the opposition leader had been given by the PTI leadership to him. “I will now work as a PTI member. For me, the party is more important than a designation,” he said. He also congratulated Shaikh for being appointed as the new opposition leader.

In a letter to the Sindh Assembly speaker, Naqvi has written that during his tenure as the opposition leader, the opposition was not allowed to play its due role by the treasury members. “The opposition is not part of any standing committee nor the Public Accounts Committee envisioned by Mohtarma Shaheed [Benazir Bhutto],” the letter reads.

The News has learnt that the PTI has plans to give Naqvi an important position in the centre. Some PTI sources said a group of PTI MPAs had raised complaints to the party’s central leaders, particularly Prime Minister Imran Khan, against Naqvi for his harsh attitude towards them.

“A group of party MPAs had complained to premier Khan that it was difficult for them to work under Naqvi’s leadership in the provincial assembly,” an MPA told The News. Some of the analysts are linking the replacement of the opposition leader in the provincial assembly with Naqvi’s statements in September, in which he criticised the federal government for playing no role in resolving the city’s ongoing electricity and gas crises.

Naqvi was quoted as saying that “he would ensure Prime Minister Imran Khan, Energy Minister Omar Ayub and prime minister’s assistant on petroleum, Nadeem Babar, felt ‘ashamed’ over the fact that Karachi was facing a crisis of gas shortage.”

But later in the same evening, he posted an apology via his Twitter account for his earlier statement. “I would like to apologise to all Insafians. My intention was to say I am going to complain about the energy minister and SSGC to the PM. On hearing the recording words are not exactly conveying that. My apologies to my leader. Who is the most committed & upright man I have met,” he tweeted.