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MQM, PSP lawmakers spar amid speculations about change of opposition leader

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KARACHI: Sindh lawmakers sitting on the opposition [Muttahida Qaumi Movement] ben­ches argued on Tuesday against each other on the matter of floor crossing with comments on the speculations about a likely change of the leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly.

The role of the leader of the opposition in assemblies is getting a greater significance as the tenure of the existing assemblies is approaching its end and the person would be playing a key role in finalising nomination for the interim set-up to supervise the next general election.

“It doesn’t matter whether I am the leader of the opposition till the end of this assembly’s tenure or for a few hours, either way it won’t affect my loyalty to the MQM and will benefit my party as we’ll know who is signing the request to dislodge me,” said Khwaja Izharul Hasan, opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly, while speaking to reporters at the end of the day’s session.

He said the election commission should look into the matter and remove those members from the assembly who had left the party but still occupied their seats in the house.

He said when a similar petition by Mehmood Khan Achakzai was accepted within 48 hours, why the election commission was not according similar relief to the MQM?

He said it was also a responsibility of the speaker of the Sindh Assembly to inquire about those who had deserted their party, and announced that they were resigning from their seats, but continued to sit in the house.

He said he had no intention of leaving the MQM, and guffawed with his party colleagues when a reporter asked whether he was joining the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP).

Syed Sardar Ahmed said how could individuals, who got elected on MQM tickets and deserted the party, keep occupying seats under the law. “They have ceased to be members of the MQM.”

Nadeem Razi was among the half-a-dozen Sindh lawmakers who have joined the PSP and spoke to the media.

“We have no intention to change the opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly, but they (MQM) are so afraid with our increasing strength that they utter everything in delirium,” said Mr Razi.

He said Mr Hasan was much junior to him and several other members of the MQM; and, he added, those who claimed to be representing the MQM were actually boasting on the mandate given to another person.

Hafeezuddin said the MQM members had made their own decision to join the PSP after the Muttahida came under severe duress since the August 2016 debacle.