–Outgoing NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq administers oath to elected reps in 342-member House
–Imran Khan shakes hands with Shehbaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Asif Zardari in goodwill gesture
–PTI’s Asad Qaiser and Qasim Suri to contest against PPP’s Khursheed Shah and MMA’s Asadur Rehman for NA speaker and deputy speaker’s office, respectively, on Aug 15
ISLAMABAD: In the maiden session of the 15th National Assembly, Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq administered oath to the newly-elected members of the Lower House of Parliament, setting the stage for the country’s third consecutive democratic transition of power.
Prime minister-in-waiting and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and other prominent political leaders, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and former president Asif Ali Zardari, were present in the assembly for the oath-taking.
TV footage showed the PTI chief shaking hands and posing for a photo with Bilawal, who is entering NA for his maiden term. Imran Khan also shook hands with his arch-rival Shehbaz Sharif besides posing for a photograph with Asif Zardari.
The assembly session began with the MNAs-elect standing up for the national anthem and a recitation of the Holy Quran. Sadiq then read out the procedure for the election of the speaker and deputy speaker.
The incoming lawmakers stood up as the speaker administered the oath of office to them and the MNAs-elect were then asked to proceed to the speaker’s desk to sign the roll of members in alphabetical order. PPP Co-chairman Asif Zardari was the first to sign the roll.
After completion of the swearing-in ceremony, the speaker prorogued the NA session until 10am on August 15, when the new speaker and deputy speaker of the assembly will be elected. The nomination papers for the same will be submitted by Tuesday noon.
The National Assembly welcomed 134 new faces this time. Monday’s session witnessed unique distinction in which three fathers and three sons took oath as members of the National Assembly.
Father and son duos elected as MNAs included Asif Ali Zardari and his son Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Pervaiz Malik and his son Ali Pervaiz Malik, and Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his son Zain Qureshi.
Bilawal’s sisters Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari and Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari witnessed the proceedings of the session, and accorded standing ovations to their father and brother when their names were called to sign the roll register after taking the oath.
Although Maulana Fazlur Rehman could not win an NA seat this time, his son Asad Mahmood along with his aunt Shahida Akhtar Ali was elected to the House.
The brother-sister duo of Raza Ghulam Rabbani Khar and Hina Rabbani Khar made it to the National Assembly. Former prime ministers Raja Pervez Ashraf and Mian Mohammad Soomro were elected as well, as were former speakers Fakhar Imam and Fehmida Mirza and outgoing speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.
Strict security measures were taken to avoid any untoward incident during the proceedings and irrelevant persons had been barred from entering the House.
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SPEAKER:
According to the rules of business of the House, the outgoing speaker (Ayaz Sadiq) will hold the election process for the incoming speaker.
The PTI has nominated Asad Qaiser for the post of the speaker and MNA from Balochistan Qasim Suri for the post of National Assembly deputy speaker, while the joint opposition, comprising 11 political parties, has fielded Syed Khursheed Shah for the speaker’s post and Fazlur Rehman’s son Asadur Rehman for the post of deputy speaker.
As per the rules, if there are two candidates for the chair of the speaker, then the one who secures more votes will be elected. Similarly, if both secure an equal number of votes, a fresh ballot shall be carried out until one of them secures more votes.
And the outgoing speaker will take oath from the newly elected speaker and hand the charge of the House over to him. The newly-elected speaker will hold a similar secret balloting process for the election of the deputy speaker and after his or her election the latter will take the oath.
The speaker is considered custodian of the House and as per the rules he is supposed to preserve the order and decorum in the house and in case of disturbance or disorder in the galleries, may cause them to be cleared.
And subsequently, in the absence of speaker, deputy speaker will have those powers to run the House.
The selection of prime minister is subjected to the submission of nomination papers on August 16, which, if done as per schedule, would pave the way for the process to be completed by the evening of the same day. Otherwise, the selection process will be held on August 17.
The oath-taking ceremony of the prime minister is slated for August 18, at the President’s House.
After the allotment of general seats to the political parties, those reserved for women and minorities were also allocated to the political parties.
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION:
After the election of the leader of the house, the speaker will inform the members about the date, time and place for the submission of a name for the leader of the opposition in the house under their signatures.
The speaker will declare a member leader of the opposition having the greatest numerical strength after verification of the signatures of the members.
Shehbaz Sharif is the joint candidate of opposition parties for the post.
PTI IN LEAD:
PTI is leading the race of the elected MNAs in the House with 158 seats (125 general, five minorities and 28 women).
However, the candidates elected on more than one seat are required to vacate all seats except one, which will reduce the tally for PTI, leaving them to rely on the support of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s (MQM-P) seven members, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s (PML-Q) five, Balochistan Awami Party’s (BAP) five, and Balochistan National Party-Mengal’s (BNP-M) four members.
PML-N is at the second place with a total of 82 seats (64 general seats, 16 women seats and two minority seats).
PPP is at a distant third with a total of 53 seats, with 42 general seats, two seats reserved for minorities, and nine reserved for women.