ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly Secretariat has notified Syed Khursheed Shah, parliamentary leader of the Pakistan People's Party, as the opposition leader in the National Assembly.

The PPP is the second largest party in the house with 42 members while the Pakistan Tehreek-I-Insaf is trailing behind with 31 seats. The swift notification for the opposition leader was totally in line with the Charter of Democracy signed between the PML-N and PPP, a PML-N leader said and quickly added that it was also in line with the Constitution.

Sources say that keeping in view the demeanour of the PML-N, which is in no mood of confrontation and inclined to take the other parties and groups along on key issues, the slot of the Public Accounts Committee chairman would also be given to Syed Khursheed Shah as written in the CoD. The PPP after coming into power in 2008 had given the PAC chairmanship to the then opposition leader Ch Nisar Ali Khan. The PPP nominated Syed Khursheed Shah as parliamentary leader while fielded Makhdoom Amin Fahim as party candidate for the slot of prime minister.

According to sources, the decision of giving the opposition leader slot to Syed Khursheed Shah was taken after long deliberations and keeping in view his political acumen. His acceptability among the parliamentarians and ability to evolve consensus among the parties on difficult and hard issues were also kept in mind by the party leadership.

Shah was also the chief whip of the treasury for five years and his role remained as the trouble-shooter in the house and most of the time he managed to pacify the hostile and angry opposition.

He is among the trusted leaders of the party and particularly his role in the National Assembly over the past five years won him the coveted but tedious job of opposition leader.

Born in Sukkur on April 20, 1952, Shah is a businessman by profession. He received his master’s degree in history in 1974 and LLB’s in 1978 from Islamia College, Sukkur.

He was elected MNA in 1991, 1993, 1997 and 2008 as well and was picked as education minister in 1993. He has also served as the Sindh education, imports, finance, information and transport minister in the 1988 goverment.