Islamabad- After the change of guards in the National Assembly, the positions of Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate are likely to be swapped between Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People's Party (PPP) because of the former's landslide victory in May 11 elections.

As part of this development, Leader of the House in the Senate, Farooq H Naek and Leader of the Opposition, Ishaq Dar, both resigned from their seats here on Tuesday and duly tendered their resignations. Senator Ishaq Dar is likely to take oath as the federal minister and this is one of reasons behind his resignation.

Under the rules, Leader of the House in the Senate is considered to be the representative of prime minister in the upper house as he represents the federal government there. As PML-N is all set to form the federal government after its triumph in general elections and its leader Nawaz Sharif will take oath today (Wednesday), he will soon appoint his representative in the Senate. Consequently, the present opposition party in the Senate, PML-N, will now sit on the treasury benches. Well-placed sources in the PML-N informed that its senior leader Senator Raja Zafarul Haq is being considered as the strong contender for the slot of the Leader of the Opposition.

Earlier, Caretaker Prime Minister Justice (r) Mir Hazar Khan Khoso had appointed Farooq H Naek as the Leader of the House in the Senate in April after the resignation of PPP lawmaker Jehangir Badr from the post. Mr Badr was the appointee of former PPP prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani and then continued during the premiership of Raja Pervaiz Ashraf. Soon after the installation of caretaker setup at the federal level, he had resigned from the post on the grounds that as his party was no more in the government, he held no morality to retain the seat.

On the other hand, the present treasury benches party in the Senate, PPP, is all set to grab the seat of Leader of the Opposition in the Senate as it will sit on the opposition benches there after its defeat in the general elections. "Naturally we will sit on the opposition benches," Senator Farhatullah Babar said while talking to The Nation. Replying to a question about the name of future leader of the opposition from the PPP, he said the party would take the decision and then it would be announced. However, the insiders in PPP are of the view that Senator Aitzaz Ahsan is being considered as the next Leader of the Opposition from the senior PPP leadership.

However, the party-wise composition in the Senate with regard to treasury and opposition benches is not clear as MQM and JUI-F have yet to decide their place of sitting in the Upper House of the Parliament. Presently, both the parties are sitting on the opposition benches having seven seats each.

However, if they became part of the PML-N led federal government, then they will sit on the treasury benches. PML-N will sit on the treasury benches with 15 members while National Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) will part of these benches having one seat each.

PPP, being the largest parliamentary party with total 39 members in the 104-member house, will sit on the opposition benches while Awami National Party (ANP) with a total 12 members has already decided to sit on the opposition side. But it is not clear whether NP will form a united opposition along with PPP or separately sit on the opposition side. PML-Q has five seats and it will also be part of the opposition. Before this Quaid-League was part of the treasury benches being the coalition partner of previous PPP-led federal government.

Balochistan National Party-Awami (BNP-Awami) has four seats and it has not yet decided its position in the house. The party was also the coalition partner of previous PPP-led regime. The house has 11 independent candidates including senators from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) as well.