PTI’s Raja Riaz appointed as leader of opposition in National Assembly
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) dissident leader Raja Riaz Ahmad has been named as the Leader of the Opposition in the lower house of Parliament on Friday after he managed to secure support from the opposition parties, SAMAA TV reported.
The opposition leader’s seat had fallen vacant after its previous incumbent, Shehbaz Sharif, was elected as the prime minister following the ouster of Imran Khan through a vote of no-confidence in the National Assembly (NA).
Ahmad, a National Assembly member from NA-110 Faisalabad, was nominated for the seat by his party after the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader Moonis Elahi pulled out of the contest for the next Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly.
The lawmaker was backed by as many as 16 lawmakers from his party in his application for the seat. His opponent, Grand Democratic Alliance’s Ghous Bux Mahar, could only muster the support of six lawmakers on his application.
In documents submitted to NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, as many as 16 lawmakers including PTI’s Nawab Sher from Faisalabad, Samiul Hassan Gillani from Bahawalpur, Farrukh Altaf from Jhelum, Mobeen Ahmed from Rahim Yar Khan, Aamir Gopang from Muzaffargarh, Ahmed Deharr from Multan, Afzal Dhandla from Bhakkar, Abdul Ghaffar Wattoo from Bahawalnagar, Haider Khan from Swat, Amjad Khosa from Dera Ghazi Khan and some reserved seat members.
After reviewing the competing applications, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf announced the results and declared Ahmad as successful.
Ahmad’s election is a little unexpected in that he was said to be among the lawmakers who had decided to deviate from the voting line adopted by the PTI for the no-confidence motion against former prime minister Imran Khan two months ago. So much so, that Ahmad had publicly announced to contest the next general elections from the ticket of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
During the no-confidence motion, however, the MNA chose to stay ‘neutral’ and not cast his vote for the all-important motion.
A long-term member of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), he had decided to leave the party and join the PTI in 2016.