PML-N-led coalition grabs speaker, deputy speaker slots in National Assembly

— Ayaz Sadiq gets Speaker, Ghulam Mustafa deputy speaker’s slots

— PTI vows not to let newly-elected National Assembly function ‘until provision of due rights’

ISLAMABAD: The PML-N-led coalition’s candidate for speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq secured a comfortable win on Friday following a 91-vote lead over PTI-supported Aamir Dogar in the election for the vital post.

Sadiq secured 199 votes out of the 291 cast, with one vote declared invalid. PTI-backed candidate Amir Dogar got 91 votes.

Meanwhile, Ghulam Mustafa Shah, the candidate fielded by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), has been elected as the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly. Shah secured an impressive 197 votes, demonstrating strong support from fellow parliamentarians.

Competing against him was Junaid Akbar of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), who garnered 92 votes, securing the second position in the election.

A total of 290 votes were cast, out of which 8 were rejected as invalid. Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq administered oath to the newly-elected deputy speaker soon after his election.

This is the second time that he has become the speaker. Sadiq had served as the speaker from 2013-2018 in the 14th National Assembly.

The polling for the election of the National Assembly speaker has been completed and the counting of votes is underway in the session that has been marred by protests of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) lawmakers.

Sadiq was administered oath by outgoing Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf. After the oath-taking, the new speaker took charge of the house forthwith.

As the first order of business Sadiq held elections for his deputy. Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Syed Ghulam Mustafa and SIC’s Junaid Akbar took part in contest for the slot.

The NA session was convened today to elect the speaker and deputy speaker during which opposition lawmakers chanted slogans against alleged rigging in the Feb 8 polls.

Before the session started SIC’s parliamentary party meeting was held in the house’s lobby, where they vowed to continue their protest in the assembly.

This is the second consecutive day that SIC has been protesting in the National Assembly over “rigged” results.

As the session began, Speaker Ashraf asked if there were any new members present who had missed the oath-taking a day earlier.

As no new members came forward, the speaker then gave the floor to PTI-backed Omar Ayub Khan to speak on a point of order.

The lawmaker alleged that foreigners were present in the house.

“People who got fake mandate have entered the house, hence, they should be expelled,” said Omar, adding that “prisoner number 804”, the number assigned to PTI founder Imran Khan in Adiala Jail, should be brought to the Assembly.

The MNA, who had a sore throat, said they would raise their voice even if their throat is sore or slit.

Ayub reiterated that the House was incomplete as the ECP is yet to announce the allocation of reserved seats in the National Assembly.

After Ayub spoke, the speaker informed him that the lawmakers that were sitting in the House were those who were declared as winners by the Election Commission of Pakistan after the February 8 elections. He also added that if they had an objection then they should approach the ECP.

The speaker’s comments infuriated the SIC members. Following this, the speaker began the process for the speaker’s election. The voting lasted for at least two hours and chants and slogans could be heard during the process.

SIC lawmakers that cast their votes chanted slogans in favour of incarcerated PTI founder Imran Khan as they put their ballot paper in the box set up near the speaker’s seat.

PTI vows not to let newly elected National Assembly function ‘until provision of due rights’

Coming down hard on the ruling alliance, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader and Sunni Ittehad Council’s (SIC) lawmaker Junaid Akbar Friday warned that they would not let the National Assembly function until provision of their due rights.

The PTI leader made the remarks during his fiery speech at the second session of the newly elected lower house of parliament.

Taking the floor, Akbar said: “We do not recognise this assembly. We will neither legislate nor allow it [in the House].

The PTI claimed that its mandate was stolen during the February 8 general elections. The Imran Khan-founded party termed the polls “rigged” and accused the caretaker government of denying a level playing field in the run-up to elections.

Firing a fresh salvo at the PPP, the PTI leader said: “A bazar [of horse-trading] was set up at the Sindh House and consciences [of lawmakers] were bought.”

“Some were threatened, some were shown their videos.”

Moving onto alleged discrimination with the PTI, the lawmaker said that his party was stripped of its electoral symbol ‘bat’ in the garb of May 9 mayhem.

The May 9 riots were triggered almost across the country after the deposed prime minister’s arrest in the £190 million settlement case. Hundreds of PTI workers and senior leaders were put behind bars for their involvement in violence and attacks on military installations.

During the protests, the miscreants targeted the civil and military installations including — Jinnah House and the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi. The military termed May 9 “Black Day” and decided to try the miscreants under the Army Act.

The PTI-backed independent candidates were given inappropriate election symbols by the ECP, he added.

Slamming the establishment, he said two assassination attempts were made on the life of the PTI founder.

Some 34 PTI supporters were killed on May 9 and FIRs were also lodged against the leadership of Khan-founded party, he added.

“Sedition cases were registered against me and my friends.”

Narrating his ordeal in jail, he said: “When I was in jail, Na Maloom Afraad [unknown people] used to make phone calls [to police officials] and it was directed that I was not provided with the bed.”

He added: “My fault was that I remained firm with the PTI founder.”

The PTI leader also said that there was no Constitution or law in the country.

Talking about the alleged rigging in the February 8 general elections, the PTI leader said that those who suffered defeat as per Form 45s were sitting in the House.

Drawing the battle in the lower house of parliament, Akbar announced: “We did not come here for reconciliation.”

“Our votes did not ask us to legislate in the House.”

It was out of the question that they would let anybody sit with peace until the release of their incarcerated leader, the PTI leader told the parliamentarians.

He also vowed to hold the ruling alliance accountable for “violating” the constitution and harming the country.

The PTI urged the government and Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa to launch a fresh inquiry to ascertain the beneficiary of the May 9 violence.

MQM-P, PML-N agree to amend Article 140

During the proceedings today, a drama unfolded when the MQM-P surprisingly walked out of the house and boycotted the polling process for the speaker.

PML-N leaders including the nominee for speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq went after them in Committee Room No. 2 to win over them to return to the house and participate in the voting process.

In return, the MQM-P demanded a constitutional amendment to empower the local bodies.

After negotiations, the PML-N acceded to MQM-P’s demand and agreed to a constitutional amendment in Article 140.

Ahsan Iqbal and Mustafa Kamal signed the agreement on PML-N and MQM-P’s behalf respectively.

JUI-F boycotts election

Raising serious reservations over the 2024 election results, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has announced that his party would not participate in the elections for the top political slots — president, prime minister, and the National Assembly (NA) speaker.

The JUI-F leader, speaking to journalists in Islamabad Thursday, said his party would sit in the opposition and its lawmakers would abstain from voting during the upcoming electoral events in the assemblies.

In response to a question regarding JUI-F’s strategy for a protest movement, he said: “Wait for it. We will represent the nation soon.”.

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