ISLAMABAD: The vice chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Shah Mahmood Qureshi, announced on Thursday that his party has decided to nominate Shafqat Mehmood for the slot of Speaker in National Assembly, DawnNews reported.
Speaking to media in Islamabad, Qureshi said PTI has sensed that fellow opposition parties, under some 'understanding' with the government or as a part of their re-conciliatory politics are not contesting the election for the position of Speaker of the House, so PTI unanimously decided to put Mehmood's name forward.
"Call it collusion, understanding or reconciliation, but if Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) will not nominate their lawmakers for the election of speaker, we have come forward to keep the democratic traditions alive in the country," said Qureshi.
About the recently concluded phase of local body polls in Sindh and Punjab, the PTI leader said that everyone has witnessed rigging and the polls were not transparently held.
"Even children as young as thirteen years old were allowed to cast vote," lamented Qureshi.
The PTI leader claimed that the voters list was 'contaminated' while in many polling stations, there was no polling staff.
"We hope that the next two phases of local body polls will not see same kind of irregularities we saw in the first phase," the PTI leader said.
The office of the NA speaker lay vacant since August 22 when an election tribunal declared the election of then NA speaker, PML-N's Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, from Lahore’s National Assembly seat NA-122 as null and void on the petition of PTI Chairman Imran Khan and ordered re-polling in the constituency.
Ayaz Sadiq regained his NA-122 Lahore seat by defeating PTI’s Abdul Aleem Khan in the by-election.
The PML-N has a comfortable majority of 186 members in the 342-seat National Assembly and does not need support of any other party for the election of the speaker for which its candidate will require a simple majority.
With 13 members of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl), five of the PML-F, four of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and a couple of independents, the total number of members on the treasury benches comes to over 210.
On the other hand, the opposition has the strength of a little over 100 members with 45 belonging to the PPP, 33 to the PTI and 24 to the MQM, the three largest parties on opposition benches.