- Qaiser receives 176 votes, while joint opposition’s candidate Khursheed Shah gets 146 votes
- Qasim Suri bags 183 votes to beat MMA’s Asad Mahmood’s 144 for deputy speaker’s office
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Asad Qaiser and Qasim Suri were sworn in as the National Assembly (NA) speaker and deputy speaker, respectively, on Wednesday, grabbing victory from the candidates fielded by a fragile opposition alliance in a secret ballot.
Asad Qaiser, a former speaker of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, received 176 votes to joint opposition’s candidate Syed Khursheed Shah’s 146. Eight votes were rejected in the tally.
The election for the post of deputy speaker was also won by PTI candidate, Qasim Suri. He garnered 183 votes, edging out Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal’s (MMA) Asad Mehmood, who received 144 votes.
Speaking to the House after voting, Ayaz thanked the parliamentarians for voting and said that whole process was completed amicably.
Following the announcement, Sadiq administered oath to Qaiser amid loud chants of vote ko izzat do by opposition lawmakers.
Qaiser, after the announcement, made a round of the opposition benches and shook hands with opposition leaders seated in the front row of the assembly.
During the oath-taking, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) leaders started a protest in the assembly and raised slogans against the newly-elected speaker. Meanwhile, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) did not take part in the protest and party’s leaders remained seated.
Qaiser adjourned the NA session for 15 minutes following the protest. The election for deputy speaker is yet to be conducted. Former president Asif Ali Zardari also walked out of the Lower House following the announcement.
Sadiq presided over the session and as the voting process formally commenced.
Zardari was the first to be called for the vote, but the former president was not present.
Outgoing Ayaz Sadiq announced the name of the speaker after newly elected MNAs voted for their preferred candidates.
The election was expected to commence at 10am; however, the session faced a delay of nearly one hour due to the late arrival of MNAs.
Prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan left the assembly after his casting vote for the speaker and returned as counting of ballots commenced.
‘WILL PLAY ROLE OF OPPOSITION’:
Khursheed Shah struck a conciliatory tone, making a speech that focused on the promise that his party would never become a hurdle to the passage of legislation meant for the country’s progress.
“Under Bilawal’s leadership, we will fully play the role of a good opposition. It is our constitutional and legal right,” he added.
“Once more, we pray that this Assembly completes its five-year term in a democratic manner.”
‘OPP’S DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS WILL BE PROTECTED’:
PTI’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a similarly diplomatic speech praised PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari for his “positive role” and “democratic behaviour”.
He also thanked Khursheed Shah for his “democratic views” and appreciated Shah’s “political maturity”.
Qureshi observed that the lawmakers would have to exhibit such democratic behaviour to maintain the sanctity of the House in the years ahead.
He also thanked the leadership of PTI’s allied parties — the Balochistan National Party (BNP), the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), PML-Q, Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), and the independents who supported it in the speaker’s election.
He assured the opposition that the government would safeguard their democratic rights, and assured them that their criticism would be taken positively.
The PTI leader noted that the country has been facing enormous challenges and that the government would need guidance from opposition lawmakers to cope with them.
“All your positive points will be paid heed to; we have the courage to listen and we will try to act accordingly,” he concluded.
MQM-P leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui lauded the democratic transition of government and said it should be the first step towards change for a better democratic process in the future.
“The people of Pakistan have entrusted their dreams to us; it is our responsibility to ensure they become a reality,” he said.
He also hoped that one day the common man would sit in Parliament: with farmers represented by farmers, and labourers represented by labourers.