PTI’s Asad Qaiser sworn in as NA speaker amid opposition ruckus

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) Asad Qaiser was sworn in as National Assembly (NA) speaker on Wednesday, beating out the candidate fielded by a fragile opposition alliance, PPP stalwart Khursheed Shah, in a secret ballot.

Qaiser, the former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly speaker, received 176 votes to Shah’s 146 votes. Eight votes were rejected.

Following the announcement, Sadiq administered oath to Qaiser among 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.

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.

Lawmakers belonging to various political parties are present in the Lower House of Parliament for the election. Prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan left the assembly after his casting vote for the speaker and returned as counting of ballots commenced.

Deputy speaker election to be held shortly

Qaiser will now oversee the election for the deputy speaker of the Lower House.

In the race for deputy speaker of NA, PTI’s Qasim Suri will face off with Asad Rehman of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA).

Shah and Rehman are the joint candidates of 11 opposition parties for the offices of speaker and deputy speaker, respectively.

After his swearing-in, Qaiser tried to maintain order in house, but to no avail. He subsequently suspended house proceedings for 15 minutes.

Polling process

  • In the first round, the speaker will be chosen in an NA session chaired by Ayaz Sadiq, the current speaker of NA.
  • The polling will begin once the NA is in session and all votes will be handed out by the NA secretary.
  • No one will be allowed to take a photograph of their vote.
  • Each nominee will choose two polling agents for themselves.
  • Once all the votes have been cast, the speaker will announce that the polling process has concluded.
  • Votes will then be counted in the presence of both candidates and their polling agents.
  • Once the results are compiled, the speaker will proceed to announce the results.
  • The outgoing speaker will then administer oath to the newly elected speaker.
  • The same process will be repeated to bring in the new deputy speaker.
  • The new speaker will supervise the election of the deputy speaker.

Overview of new National Assembly

The NA has a total of 342 seats, including 272 general seats, 60 reserved for women and 10 for minorities. As polls in Rawalpindi (NA-60) had been postponed following the disqualification of PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi and elections in Faisalabad (NA-103) had been put off after the death of a candidate, the elections were held in 270 NA constituencies on July 25.

The results of only 339 NA constituencies, including the reserved seats, have so far been announced while the notification of PPP candidate Fida Dero’s victory from NA-215 (Sanghar), which had been withheld by the Election Commission of Pakistan, had not been issued till Monday evening despite the apex court order.

As many as 326 members had taken oath on Monday as Mehboob Sultan and Amir Sultan, the two brothers and PTI MNAs from Jhang, had not turned up at the inaugural session due to the demise of their mother.

First-time MNA Bilawal at the NA session. — DawnNewsTV
First-time MNA Bilawal at the NA session. — DawnNewsTV

The PTI now has 152 members in the National Assembly after Imran Khan, Ghulam Sarwar Khan and Tahir Sadiq vacated the additional seats.

PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, who had won two NA seats, has also opted for the Punjab Assembly seat. PML-N’s Hamza Shahbaz has also retained his Punjab Assembly seat and did not take the oath as MNA on Monday.

The parties which have either already announced their support to the PTI or are expected to vote for its nominees are the MQM with seven seats; PML-Q and BAP with three seats each; BNP (four seats); GDA (three); and Awami Muslim League and Jamhoori Watan Party (with one seat each). Besides them, nine independents have joined the PTI.

Four independents, who have decided to maintain their independent status, are also expected to vote for the PTI. So the PTI nominees should get 180 votes in all the elections against 150 votes of the candidates of the joint opposition.

The PML-N with 82 seats is the largest party in the opposition group, followed by PPP (53 seats); MMA (15 seats) and ANP (one seat).

Source: Dawn

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