Pakistan opposition leader in National Assembly resigns

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Islamabad, Sep 15 (UNI) Leader of the Opposition in Pakistan's National Assembly Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi has tendered his resignation from the position in what was described as a sudden and unexpected move.

The resignation followed reports about a possible power-sharing deal between Elahi's Pakistan Muslim League (Q), the former ruling party and Pakistan People's Party (PPP) at the Centre and in Punjab.

He tendered resignation through a letter addressed to Speaker of the National Assembly Fehmida Mirza yesterday.

''It seems that the slot of the leader of opposition is being sought by those who until September 13 were part of the federal government coalition and who, interestingly, remain allies in the government with the same party (PPP) in Punjab which they plan to support in the Centre,'' Mr Elahi, former chief minister Punjab, said in reference to Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz).

The PML-N had applied for the post of the opposition leader last week after deciding to sit in the opposition in the National Assembly.

''I was lawfully and democratically elected as leader of opposition but I have noticed that recent events are perhaps forcing you to reconsider this issue,'' Mr Elahi said.

He added, ''Despite this dichotomy, I do not want to get involved in any controversy and in the interest of smooth working of parliament and with a view not to embarrass your position as speaker I hereby tender my resignation as leader of Opposition in the National Assembly.'' Meanwhile, a spokesman for the PML-N criticised Mr Elahi for resigning from the position without admitting that it was because of the ongoing talks of a deal with the PPP.

Sher Azam Khan, a close aide of PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif, told Dawn newspaper that the Punjab government was ''strong and stable and, no amount of undemocratic moves can harm it.'' He said Mr Sharif was leaving for Umra along with his family on September 18 and was expected to meet Saudi leaders.

UNI XC PD HT1100

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