PTI’s Asad Qaiser and Qasim Suri have been elected Speaker and Deputy Speaker, respectively, of the National Assembly.
Former speaker Ayaz Sadiq announced the result and thanked the members of the last assembly. He praised the last assembly’s committees.
There were 330 votes cast of which 322 were valid. Qaiser obtained 176 votes while the opposition’s Khursheed Shah obtained 146.
Qasim Suri secured 183 votes through secret balloting, while Maulana Asad Mehmood, the opposition’s candidate for the post, got 144 votes.
Qaiser took oath to the sound of PML-N members chanting slogans against him and PTI supporters shouting in his support. The PML-N members reiterated their chants of ‘vote ko izzat do’. His oath was administered by Sadiq.
PML-N leader Murtaza Javed Abbasi was allowed to speak right after Sadiq announced the result and he said the mandate with which Qaiser was elected was fake.
PML-N leaders gathered in front of the speaker’s dais and held posters of Nawaz Sharif aloft. PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah and the PTI’s Aamir Liaquat also fought.
The votes were recounted after PPP leader Shazia Marri and Umar Ayub raised objections. They were some of the MNAs overseeing the vote count.
In a lighter incident, a PTI MNA accidentally sat in the prime minister’s seat. Malik Farooq Azam accidentally sat in the prime minister’s seat and had to be told to get up by Sadiq.
Shazia Marri asked the speaker to also get up to greet female members who come to vote for the deputy speaker. She said that Qaiser was standing up to greet male members but failed to get up when female members came to the dais to vote. She asked him to award all members the same amount of respect.
Khursheed Shah, who lost the election, spoke during the session and congratulated Qaiser on his victory on behalf of the PPP. He said his party’s leaders have sacrificed their lives for democracy and that they will continue to protect the sanctity and sovereignty of the Parliament. He credited the Parliament and opposition for safeguarding democracy and the sanctity of the house.
We will fulfill the commitments made to the people of the country, he said. Speaking to Sadiq, he praised him for safeguarding the Parliament’s beauty. We are very happy that the Parliament completed its five years and that we worked for the betterment of the people, said Shah.
He said he hopes this Parliament will also complete five years and that the PPP will never oppose any laws or bills that are beneficial to the people of Pakistan. He finished his speech with the promise that the PPP will fulfill its role as the opposition.
The PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi said he appreciated Shah’s speech and that he showed ‘political maturity’. If we want to take the country forward, we need to continue like this, he said.
We were with you while you were leader of the opposition and we sat on the same benches, and today I want to thank you for your role, said Qureshi. He went on to say that this was an important day in Pakistan’s history. His speech was periodically interrupted by shouts from PML-N leaders.
He discussed the role of the opposition and said they will safeguard their democratic right. He said the government will need the opposition’s help to resolve the economic issues of the country and urged them to continue to raise issues.
Former speaker Ayaz Sadiq began his speech by thanking the PPP and Asif Ali Zardari for facilitating the first handover of a democratically elected government to another one in 2013. He said he and his colleagues in the assembly had tried to work for the betterment of Pakistan.
I smiled through chants of ‘fake speaker’ and listened to people say they didn’t accept what I said but God gave me strength to get through it. When people said there are thieves in this assembly, we all hurt, said Sadiq. He urged the new MNAs to respect each other even while they disagreed with each other. He said he hoped he would not disrespect the new speaker.
Sadiq urged the MNAs to respect the speaker and his position. He also praised the PPP for supporting him during the assembly session as the opposition. He said he was able to work with the support of Nawaz Sharif, Khursheed Shah as the leader of the opposition and the JUI-F and ensure that the MNAs who left the assembly were not kicked out.
On a lighter note, he said he hoped one day that Shireen Mazari could head a session and if he was frustrated, he could take it out on her the same way she took out her frustrations on him.
I always did the right thing and gave time to all members, he said, adding that he has no regrets.
“Let us work for the benefit of Pakistan, for the betterment of Parliament. We get a lot of abuse but no one appreciates our good work. We need to appreciate the good work we do for the betterment of Pakistan,” he said. He asked Qaiser to look at the last assembly’s records to check and see how much time was given to the government and how much was given to the opposition. Be fair, he said. He thanked the PPP, PML-N and Khursheed Shah, whom he said showed him how big of a heart you have to have to be in this role.
MQM Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said we should always strive for a better form of democracy. Pakistan’s people have placed their hopes and support in this assembly and we need to be aware of that, he said.
He said the best democracy will be when the common man is in Parliament, defending his rights instead of political families.
This is the second session of the 15th National Assembly. The voting for the speaker and deputy speaker took place through secret balloting.
The PTI, which has the highest number of seats in the lower house, nominated Qaiser as its candidate for speaker. The opposition parties filed the nomination papers for PPP leader Khursheed Shah. Shah served as the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly in the previous term.
The PTI submitted the nomination papers of Qasim Khan Suri as its candidate for the deputy speaker. Maulana Asad Mehmood is the opposition’s candidate for the post.
The PTI enjoys the backing of the MQM, BAP, BNP-Mengal, GDA, PML-Q, Awami Muslim League and Jamhoori Watan Party in the National Assembly. The PTI has 151 seats, MQM has seven, BAP five, BNP-Mengal four and GDA three while the Awami Muslim League and Jamhoori Watan Party have one seat each. Of the four independent elected MNAs, two have declared their support for the PTI. This means the PTI has 177 votes.
On the other hand, the opposition has the 81 votes of the PML-N, 53 of the PPP, 15 of the MMA and one of the ANP. In total, the opposition candidates can get 150 votes.
The Sindh Assembly and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly have also elected their speakers and deputy speakers. Agha Siraj Durrani has been elected the Sindh Assembly speaker again.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Mushtaq Ghani has been elected as speaker and Mehmood Jan has been elected deputy speaker.
Read this story in Urdu here