SHC directs Sindh Assembly speaker to nominate leader of opposition within 10 days

Karachi: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday directed the speaker, provincial assembly to decide from the nominees to appoint the opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly within 10 days.

Headed by Justice Maqbool Baqar, the division bench was seized with the petition of Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) leader Jam Madad Ali and other opposition members of the provincial assembly who had moved court against speaker of provincial assembly for not appointing Nusrat Sehr Abbasi as the opposition leader.

The petitioners had stated that they unanimously nominated Nusrat Bano Saher Abbasi to be the opposition leader of Sindh assembly, adding they moved an application to speaker provincial assembly duly received by the deputy secretary, Sindh assembly on December 19, 2012 informing him about nomination.

They had submitted that after receipt of the application the speaker is legally bound to allocate seats to opposition members in the assembly so as to complete the house and to conduct and run affairs of the assembly smoothly and in accordance with the mandate given under the constitution.

They had contended that provincial assembly is completing its term on March 23, 2013, adding as per law and constitution under article 224 and 224-A the president in consultation with the prime minister and the leader of the opposition a caretaker chief minister shall be appointed by the governor.

They had pointed that it is therefore abundantly clear that in absence of the leader of the opposition even no caretaker cabinet is to be appointed.

Therefore, they prayed to court to declare that the speaker is legally and constitutionally bound to immediately allocate the opposition seats in the assembly and upon receipt of the application about the nomination of the opposition leader he is bound to appoint leader of the opposition.

On Thursday, AAG Sarwar Khan submitted that the opposition seats have already been allocated. He conceded that under the law, speaker is bound to declare a member from the opposition benches, having support of majority of the opposition members of the assembly, as opposition leader.

He further submitted that in addition to the nomination of Nusrat Bano Saher Abbasi by the petitioners, another nomination from other group from opposition benches has also been submitted before the speaker which also is pending.

The court ruled, “We would, therefore, dispose of this petition by directing the speaker provincial assembly Sindh to decide nominations as may have been submitted before him for nomination of the Leader of the Opposition at the earliest and not later than ten days from today.”

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