Pakistan opposition fails to choose candidate for interim PM

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Senior leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, (PTI) Jamaat-e-Islami and Awami Muslim League, among others, are in attendance.

In the wake of Nawaz Sharif's disqualification in the Panamagate case, President Mamnoon Hussain had called a session of the National Assembly (NA) tomorrow [August 1] for the election of a prime minister.

In a meeting of the opposition parties held today in the chamber of Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah, a consensus could not be reached regarding a joint candidate for the slot of prime minister.

The PML-N's nominee, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who is now facing a Rs220 billion corruption inquiry being carried out by the National Accountability Bureau, submitted his nomination papers to NA Secretary Jawad Rafiq Malik on Monday.

Official sources said that PML-N nominee for the office of prime minister, former petroleum and natural resources minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Awami Muslim League chairman Sheikh Rasheed have obtained nomination papers from the assembly secretariat. Moreover, the opposition house is divided as they could not agree on fielding a joint candidate to challenge Abbasi.

Seconders in these nomination papers are Saira Afzal Tarar, Abdul Qadir Baloch, Sardar Muhammad Yousaf, Ghalib Khan and Khawaja Muhammad Asif.

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However, Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM) has refused to participate in the meeting. National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq will scrutinise the nominations.

Meanwhile, MQM-P's Sheikh Salahuddin, PPP's Khursheed Shah and MNA Naveed Qamar also submitted their nomination papers following the meeting.

Talking to media persons after submission of the nomination papers of Sheikh Rashid, Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the opposition should give a chance to Sheikh Rashid - one of the petitioners in the landmark Panama Papers case. The PPP is of the view that the PTI announced its candidate unilaterally to the chagrin of the largest opposition party in the lower house of parliament.

However, opposition parties are still trying to create consensus.

Qureshi claimed that the opposition parties will take their time to think over the option of rallying behind Rasheed.

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