ISLAMABAD - With less than nine months in the 2018 general elections, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf started making attempts to replace Leader of Opposition Khursheed Shah with its own — Shah Mehmood Qureshi, it emerged Thursday.

The PTI is seeking political support to make Qureshi opposition leader before the caretaker government steps in before the General Elections 2018. The caretaker government is formed with the consensus of the ruling party and the main opposition. As such PTI wants to ensure that the caretaker Prime Minister is of its choice.

However, Qureshi said that MQM-P has contacted PTI for change of the opposition leader in National Assembly and other political parties would also be consulted in this connection.

In a statement issues here on Thursday, Qureshi said that MQM’s suggestion was under consideration but all stakeholders would be contacted for consensus in this regard.

He was of the view that MQM has reservations over Khurshid Shah but after consultation it would be clear on whose name consensus was developed for Opposition Leader in NA.

Qureshi said that setting aside the differences with MQM, the PTI could cooperate with it over issues of changing Opposition Leader. According to sources, the PTI established contact with Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan. Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) delegation comprising Dr Farooq Sattar and Kamran Tessori called on Qureshi in Islamabad on Wednesday before his departure for London and discussed change of opposition leader in the National Assembly.

Speaking on the occasion, Qureshi said that he would visit MQM-P’s temporary head office at Bahadurabad in Karachi after his return from London. It is pertinent to mention here that after the support of MQM-P, the position of PTI’s candidate for the slot of opposition leader has been strengthened. The PTI in its message said that if all the opposition parties unite against the Pakistan People’s Party then a new opposition leader can emerge. Sources said the PTI has started approaching different political parties in this regard. The MQM-P will decide upon the request after holding consultations within party.

It is pertinent to mention that in the National Assembly, MQM-P has 22 seats while the PTI holds 27 seats.