Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan's victory in the election for the office of prime minister today has become almost certain as a rift persisted in the grand opposition alliance over the candidature of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Shahbaz Sharif.
Khan, whose nomination papers were filed by Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid in the NA secretariat after senior PTI leaders formally decided to nominate their chairman at a party meeting held at his Banigala residence, may take a lead of 30 to 35 votes in today's election for the office of prime minister.
While efforts were under way to remove differences between the PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party over Sharif's candidature, if the two major opposition parties stick to their stance till yesterday noon (the deadline for filing of nomination papers for PM's election) it may have an effect on the fate of the grand opposition alliance and even on the upper house of parliament.
The PPP has asked the PML-N to review its decision and nominate someone else as a joint candidate of the 11-party opposition alliance in place of Shahbaz Shairf, who was said to have passed derogatory remarks against PPP co-chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari in the recent past. However, the PML-N came up with a strong reaction to the demand and threatened that this could lead to change of the leader of the opposition and the chairman of the Senate.
When contacted, PML-N's leader Mushahid Hussain dismissed the suggestion that the party should change their nominee for the office of prime minister. “It has been decided that Shahbaz Sharif will remain our nominee,” he said.
He said the grand opposition alliance was formed to ensure fair and free elections in the country but if the PPP stuck to its stance the alliance would collapse.