ISLAMABAD - Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal) will soon submit a formal application in the National Assembly Secretariat, requesting speaker to allocate seats to its party members on opposition benches.

BNP (Mengal), after joining Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), had decided to formally submit an application in the National Assembly Secretariat to get identity as opposition members, sources in BNP-Mengal told The Nation.

The Balochistan-based party had refused to become part of government benches, as now the ruling party [PTI] members have halted efforts to woo its erstwhile partners. BNP-Mengal members were already sitting on the opposition benches as per the sitting arrangements in the National Assembly hall, sources said, but now they want formal notification in this regard.

BNP-Mengal chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal, around six month before, had formally announced that he will distance the party from the federal government alliance in the National Assembly session. Mengal in his speech had said that the ruling party was not serious to fulfill its pledges.

The opposition strength in the National Assembly would increase with the support of BNP-Mengal in the centre. The opposition has currently been enjoying the strength of 156 seats with 84 members from Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), 55 from PPP-P, 16 from Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) one member from Awami National Party (ANP).

Whereas, the PTI has currently 156 seats and support of allied partners including MQM-P with its seven seats, Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) with five, Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) with three, Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) and Awami Muslim League (AML) have one seat each, besides four independent lawmakers.

The joint opposition factions had made attempts to convince him to join opposition benches but the BNP-Mengal had formally decided to become part of opposition after around six months. BNP- Mengal chief, after leaving alliance with government members, had earlier conveyed both the government and the opposition that his party would prefer to sit independent in the National Assembly.

Talking to The Nation, BNP (Mengal) Sardar Akhtar Mengal said that his party has formally decided to become part of opposition in the parliament. “We [BNP-Mengal] will not change our decision at any cost, as we have already given two years to the ruling party,” he said.