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PESHAWAR, May 30: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s candidates Asad Qaisar and Imtiaz Shahid Qureshi were elected the speaker and deputy speaker of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly unopposed on Thursday after the opposition parties withdrew from the contest.

Outgoing speaker Kiramatullah Khan Chagharmatti took initiative to get the speaker and deputy speaker elected unopposed. He adjourned the session shortly after the recitation from the Holy Quran and convened a ‘jirga’ of parliamentary leaders in his chamber to elect speaker and deputy speaker unopposed.

The outgoing speaker asked Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Awami National Party to withdraw their candidates.

Mr Chagharmatti said the provincial assembly had established some positive traditions, which should be preserved forever.

The parliamentary parties’ ‘jirga’ began at 11am and continued until 2pm. During the ‘jirga’, the three parties agreed to withdraw their candidates.

The opposition parties had fielded Munawar Khan of JUI-F for the post of the speaker and Akbar Hayat Khan of PML-N for that of the deputy speaker on Wednesday.

The opposition parties’ candidates did not withdraw their nomination papers within the stipulated period, which was 11pm on Wednesday.

The assembly’s secretariat had made all arrangements and polling booth was set up inside the hall.

The time for the papers’ withdrawal had already expired.

When the proceedings began, MPA Israrullah Gandapur requested the chair to suspend Rule 240 of the Provincial Assembly Procedure and Conduct of Business Rules, 1988 to elect both the speaker and deputy speaker by consensus.

Significantly, Pakistan People’s Party has decided to support the PTI candidates for the two offices. PPP parliamentary leader Syed Ali Shah Bacha said his leadership had decided to support PTI candidates.

Leaders of the opposition parties said the candidates’ withdrawal was aimed at upholding the assembly’s traditions and send out a positive message to everyone outside the province.

They said the newly-elected speaker would remain neutral and impartial.

Speaking on the occasion, ANP parliamentary leader Sardar Hussain Babak said newly-elected Speaker Asad Qaisar should quit as the PTI provincial president to ensure impartiality.

“You are the custodian of this House and therefore, you will have to abandon your party’s position to remain impartial,” he said.

PML-N parliamentary leader Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan Abbasi said the opposition parties expected honourable conduct from the chair the moment he occupied the seat.

He said Asad Qaisar would prove himself the custodian of the House and not a party. He said the opposition would support the chair for the fair conduct of the House.

JUI-F parliamentary leader Maulana Lutfur Rehman assured the speaker of his party’s support in running the assembly affairs but said his party didn’t accept the PTI ‘mandate.’

He said many parties, including PTI, which was going to form the government in the province, did not accept election results.

Mr Rehman said the law and order situation would not improve until the policies of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf were followed.

During the session, JUI-F MPA Romana Jalil also took oath from the outgoing speaker Kiramatullah Chagharmatti.

LEADER OF THE HOUSE ELECTION: The assembly will elect the leader of the House today (Thursday).

Pervez Khattak of PTI, Maulana Lutfur Rehman of JUI-F and Wajeh-u-Zaman of PML-Nawaz have filed nomination papers for the post of the chief minister.

PTI and its allies, including Jamaat-i-Islami and Qaumi Watan Party, have begun efforts to get the leader of the House elected by consensus.

However, JUI-F and PML-N are determined to contest for the coveted post.

PML-N leader Sardar Mehtab Abbasi told reporters that the opposition would not let PTI get its candidate elected unopposed.

He said three opposition parties, including JUI-F, PML-N and ANP, were likely to filed a joint candidate for the contest.