ISLAMABAD: Former National Assembly (NA) Speaker, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq on Friday was sworn in as an MNA following his triumph during the October by-polls in Lahore's NA-122 constituency. Acting Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi administered oath to the PML-N leader.
Addressing the NA, Sadiq thanked those who supported him, and referred to the relationships he had built during his time as an MNA since 2002 as his "assets". "I became so close to them, I think of them as my family," he said.
Ayaz Sadiq was deseated by an election tribunal in August which accepted Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan's petition challenging the 2013 General Election result.
He had defeated Imran Khan during the 2013 polls, and reclaimed his seat by contesting against PTI's Aleem Khan in the by-polls.
Sadiq in the NA said he had respected the tribunal's verdict to deseat him, saying, "I did not file any application against the judge to transfer my case, because I have faith in his honesty. He spoke about a failure in the election machinery. He did not attribute a single count of rigging to myself, my party, my polling officers or the voters."
Speaking about the experience of his return to parliament, he said, "If anyone from our party approaches the Supreme Court for a stay, then they are said to be seeking the shelter of courts, but if someone from the other side asks for a stay, it is considered 'halal'." He called for an end to this contradictory attitude.
Members of the house reacted to his statement with exclamations of "shame", to which he responded by saying "There should be no calls for shame. We don't want our children to learn the language that was used against us in those containers... Our elders taught us respect. We will uphold this tradition."
Though under the rules, the election to the office of the National Assembly Speaker is supposed to take place on the first day of the session, it was missing from the house agenda for today.
PTI has named Shafqat Mehmood as its candidate for the office of Speaker, while PPP leaders and lawmakers have indicated that they will neither field a candidate nor support an opponent fielded by the PTI if Sardar Ayaz Sadiq is nominated by the PML-N.
Television footage showed Sadiq repeating the oath. MNAs applauded the occasion by thumping their benches and gave him congratulatory hugs and handshakes.
Three other MNAs were sworn in, including Riazul Haq Juj, former independent candidate and winner of the NA-144 Okara by-polls ─ who has now joined the ranks of the PML-N, Haripur's NA-19 by-poll winner PML-N's Babar Nawaz, and Dr Shazia Soomro who was elected to a reserved seat for women, according to a report on state television.