ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Lower House of the Parliament is set to announce its new leader on Tuesday following the disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by the Supreme Court in the historic Panama Papers Case.
The election of the prime minister will be held at 3:00 pm day in the session of the National Assembly at the Parliament House in Islamabad.
In the House of 342 lawmakers, a Candidate will have to secure minimum 172 votes to win the election.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is most likely to become the new Leader of the House as the ruling party and its allies enjoy comfortable majority in the National Assembly.
Besides Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, five other Candidates including Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) Syed Khursheed Shah and Syed Naveed Qamar; Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) Sahibzada Tariqullah and Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) Kishwar Zahra were in the fray to contest the election.
Their nomination papers were scrutinized and found in order by the Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.
However, MQM’s Kishwar Zahra withdrew her nomination papers today in favour of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi after a delegation of PML-N consisting of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Khawaja Saad Rafique and Muhammad Zubair met the MQM leadership in Islamabad to secure the party’s support in favor of government’s nominee.
Talking to media flanked by PML-N leaders, the MQM Chief Farooq Sattar said that they had working relationships will political parties. He said that whosoever was elected as the prime minister, he would have to take into account the Sindh’s situation.
Similarly, the Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah also withdrew his nomination papers in favour of Syed Naveed Qamar whom the PPP finalized as its Candidate for premiership.
Currently, the ruling PML-N has 188 lawmakers in the 342-member House while its ally Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) has 14; Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) has 5; Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) has 3; and Pakistan Muslim League-Zia (PML-Z) and National Party (NP) have 1 each.
Therefore, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi may taste the victory with 214 votes, and now even with much more votes after the support of MQM.
It is pertinent to mention here that two seats in the national assembly from NA-120 and NA-18 are lying vacant at the moment; therefore, maximum 340 lawmakers will cast their votes.
In a tweet, the PML-N senior leader and former Federal Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique has expressed hope to gain 235 votes in favour of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
In comparison to the members from treasury benches, the Opposition members in the Lower House include 47 from PPP; 33 from PTI; 24 from MQM, 4 from JI; 2 each from Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and Awami National Party (ANP); and 1 each from All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan (AJIP), Qaumi Watan Party (QWP), Awami Muslim League (AML) and Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M).