LAHORE - In the absence of PTI lawmakers who have resigned from their assembly seats in line with the party policy, it is not clear yet which party would be leading the remaining Opposition as Punjab Assembly session starts here today at 3 pm with Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal in the chair.

PTI lawmaker from Rawalpindi Arif Abbasi confirmed that assembly members from his party would not be attending Monday’s session because they have submitted their resignations with the assembly speaker. Interestingly, the PTI members are still part of the House in the strict legal term because their resignations have not been accepted by the speaker as yet.

Today’s session would be held without an opposition leader, though other opposition parties would be there to play this role.

Given the odd numbers the remaining opposition parties have in the present assembly, it would be interesting to watch who would be the new Leader of the Opposition after the exist of Mr Mehmoodur Rashid. The PPP and PML-Q have eight members each in a House of 371, though virtually the total strength has now been reduced to 341 after departure of 30 PTI members.

The PML-Z comes next with three members followed by JI, Bahawalpur National Awami Party and Pakistan National Muslim League having one member each in the provincial assembly. Four independents are also supposed to be part of the 18-member opposition alliance.

In case of more than one opposition party in an elected House, the one having comparatively greater number of members has the right to have its opposition leader. In the present case, both the PPP and PML-Q can lay their claim on the said office because of their equal representation. The new opposition leader has to be a consensus candidate of the opposition alliance under the given situation.

The government business for the current session includes laying of some ordinances including the most important one on local governments. Questions regarding local government department would be asked and answered in today’s sitting of the House. The session is likely to continue for three weeks.