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Bilawal or Khursheed? Confusion persists about the PPP’s future opposition leader in NA

Till Wednesday, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was quick to rubbish media reports suggesting that PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari would replace veteran politician Khursheed Shah as the party’s leader of the opposition in the National Assembly once he is elected as a member of parliament.

Confusion was created, however, as Shah, in a Wednesday night interview on DawnNews show News Eye, said Bilawal’s role as party chairperson meant he would ‘naturally’ take up the mantle as opposition leader after being elected to the lower house.

When asked whether the next opposition leader would be Bilawal, Shah replied: “Naturally, he is the party chairman, so he will become the opposition leader.”

He clarified his statement saying that this decision was not one made by his party, but reflected his own desire to step down as opposition leader when Bilawal became an MNA.
PPP’s opposition leader in the NA on DawnNews show News Eye.

“Naturally, the party leader will come to the fore. I have to give him space. He will have to move forward with his leadership,” he added.

Shah recalled that in 1997, slain PPP leader and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto had requested that he become opposition leader but he had refused on the grounds that since she was present in the assembly, he could not take the position.

“In 1997, mohtarma called me and asked me to be the opposition leader. The party only had 17 members at the time. I told her you are here so this is not possible.”

A PPP spokesperson, when asked for clarification on Shah’s statements and any change in the PPP’s stance on the matter, told Dawn.com that it is possible that Bilawal may become the opposition leader.

When asked directly whether Bilawal would be the new opposition leader or not, the spokesperson replied: “It is obvious. He Bilawal is the party head. He will become the opposition leader.”

Commenting on Shah’s statements, the spokesperson said, “These are his own statements.”
Nawaz invokes Charter of Democracy

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday invoked the Charter of Democracy signed by himself and slain PPP leader Benazir Bhutto a year before her fateful return to Pakistan in 2007.

The charter had been signed by the two former prime ministers after several hours of painstaking deliberations by their negotiating teams.

Read more: Benazir and Nawaz sign Charter of Democracy
PM Nawaz addresses AJK Council.

“The meaning of democracy is that you adopt tolerance in your hearts, accept negative criticism.”

“But if someone doesn’t accept the Charter of Democracy and adopts policies of non compliance, there is no remedy for that person,” the premier said, addressing a meeting of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir council.

Nawaz’s reminder of his government’s commitment to the Charter of Democracy comes on the back of former president Asif Zardari’s return to Pakistan after 18 months and an announcement that he and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari would contest elections for seats in “this parliament”.

Pakistan Tehreek i Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday expressed reservations about the strength of the PPP’s opposition to the PML-N.

“I want to see if the PPP will really do opposition against the PML-N. Between 2008 and 2013, both parties ruled the country together and there was no opposition in the country,” said Imran, whose party had boycotted the 2008 elections, following which the PPP had formed its government at the centre.

courtesy : dawn news

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