ISLAMABAD The election of PML-Ns Ishaq Dar as leader of the opposition in the Senate is almost certain after as many as 25 senators from Jamat Islamai (JI), PML-Q Likeminded group, three Balochistan nationalist parties and a group of six PML-Q dissidents threw their weight behind him. An application signed by the supporting senators was sent to the Senate Chairman Farooq H Naek and sources in the Senate Secretariat informed that the name of Ishaq Dar would be duly notified as leader of the opposition in the next week. The slot had fallen vacant after PML-Q joined the treasury benches in the Senate as result of a power-sharing deal with the ruling PPP and its Senator Wasim Sajjad had to quit as the leader of the opposition in the Senate. The six PML-Q dissidents supporting the PML-N candidate are Tariq Azeem, Naeem Hussain Chatta, Javed Ali Shah, Gulshan Saeed, Jamal Leghari and Rehana Yayha Baloch. The other supporting senators include Raja Zafarul Haq, Professor Khurshid, Abdul Rahim Mandokhel, Abdul Malik Baloch, Hasil Khan Bazinjo, Professor Ibrahim, Afia Zia, Pervez Rasheed, Mushahidullah Khan, Sajid Mir, Zafar Ali Shah, Najma Hameed, Ghufran Khan, Humayun Khan Mandokhel, Saleem Saif Ullah Khan, Haroon Akhtar, Abdul Ghaffar Qureshi and Fouzia Fakhar Alzaman. Sources told that JUI-F did not pledge support for Ishaq Dar and instead have announced to make Ghafoor Haidri the opposition leader, but they do not have any support from other opposition parties. It was also learnt that the PML Likeminded group was pledged their support for Ishaq Dar after the PML-N offered it deputy opposition leader seat in return. However, president of the Likeminded group, Senator Salim Saifullah insisted that the group had no vested interest in its supporting the PML-N candidate. Talking to the media after his meeting with PML-N leaders Senator Ishaq Dar and Senator Pervez Rasheed at his residence here on Saturday, he said that Pakistan was facing economic crisis and in the ongoing scenario, Ishaq Dar being an economist was the most suitable person to assume the position of opposition leader in the Senate. Jamiat Ulema-e- Islam (JUI-F) and PML-N are the majority parties in the Senate with 10 and 7 seats respectively. However, PML-N had earlier formed an opposition group with the nomenclature of Independent Opposition Group that includes 3 members each from JI and nationalist parties of Balochistan. The group thus has total strength of 13 numbers in the Senate with Raja Zafarul Haq of PML-N as its chairman and Professor Khurshid Ahmed of JI as its deputy chairman. The members of nationalist parties of Balochistan are Abdul Rahim Mandokhel of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP) and Hasil Khan Bazenjo as well as Dr Abdul Malik of National Party (NP) Five PML-Q legislators, Tariq Azeem, Jamal Khan Leghari, Javed Ali Shah, Naeem Hussain Chattha and Begum Gulshan Saeed have formed a separate group in the Senate and decided to sit on the opposition benches. They had announced this in the first week of May when MPL-Q joined the coalition government in the federal. Senators Salim Saifullah Khan, Haroon Akhtar, Fauzia Fakhruz Zaman and Abdul Ghaffar Qureshi have already formed a group in Q-League with the name of Likeminded. The sources in PML- Q Likeminded informed that the group also has support of another two to three Senators from PML-Q. Abdul Ghafoor Haidri, parliamentary leader of JUI-F in the Upper House, is also a contender for the slot of the leader of opposition. However, after announcement of support by 25 senators for Ishaq Dar, it is unclear whether or not his party will support PML-Ns candidate. However, Senator Salim Saifullah Khan Saturday told the media that efforts were underway to get the support of Fazlur Rehmans party for electing Ishaq Dar as the unanimous leader of the opposition. Interestingly, some quarters were creating an impression that Ishaq Dar had by-passed his senior party colleague and parliamentary leader of PML-N in the Senate, Raja Zafarulhaq. However, when TheNation contacted Raja Zafarulhaq, he dismissed the impression, saying that he had given in writing his support to Ishaq Dar. To a question, he said that he was on board regarding this decision of his party.