PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz are in one-to-one competition for the office of the deputy speaker of the provincial assembly taking place today (Tuesday).
The PTI has filed nomination papers of special assistant to the chief minister on social welfare Dr Mehar Taj Roghani, while PML-N fielded Arbab Akbar Hayat Khan for the office of the deputy speaker on Monday.
Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli, Habibur Rehman, Dena Naz, Shaukat Ali Yousafzai and Soran Singh proposed Dr Mehar Taj, while Syed Jafar Shah and Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha signed the nomination papers of Arbab Akbar.
Dr Roghani is enjoying the support of the ruling coalition’s partners including Jamaat-i-Islami and Qaumi Watan Party, while Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Awami National Party and Pakistan People’s Party are supporting Arbab Akbar Hayat.
Keeping in view the numerical strength of members of PTI and its allies in the assembly, Dr Roghani is having an edge over her rival candidate.
If elected, Dr Roghani, a known pediatrician, will create history by becoming the first woman deputy speaker of the assembly.
Under Rule 10 of the provincial assembly procedure and conduct of business rules, Speaker Asad Qaisar will supervise the election for the office of the deputy speaker.
The polling will start at 2pm today (Tuesday).
Office of the deputy speaker has been lying vacant since October 2014 after then deputy speaker Imtiaz Shahid was appointed the minister for law and parliamentary affairs.
In the absence of the deputy speaker, the assembly has been in session since Oct 23, 2014.
As for the parties’ position in the 124-member house, PTI has 60 MPAs after the recent merger of Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan with it, PML-N 16, JUI-F 17, QWP 10, PPP 6, JI 6 and ANP 5, while two independent lawmakers are also supporting the ruling party.
The so-called 24-member likeminded group of PTI is also supporting their party’s candidate.
A member of a likeminded group told Dawn that they had no other option but to support the party’s candidate.
PTI’s Dr Roghani and PML-N’s Arbab Akbar eyeing the slot lying vacant since Oct 2014
PTI has expelled Amjad Afridi from the party for violating discipline in the local government election while PML-N has expelled Wajeh uz Zaman Khan on charges of defection in the Senate election. It is unclear whether these two lawmakers would cast vote to the party candidates or not.
Mr Zaman told Dawn that he had been expelled from the party but despite that, he would cast vote for the deputy speaker’s elections according to the Constitution.
“I will go by Article 63A of the 1973 Constitution though I have decided in principle to join PTI,” he said. The said article deals with disqualification of a lawmaker on ground of defection.
The government and opposition have worked out their strategies for winning elections.
Opposition parties planned to meet at the Governor’s House on Monday night to discuss plan for the election.
MPA Shah Hussain Khan of JUI-F said members of the opposition parties had been invited to the Governor’s House for meeting.
Meanwhile, the treasury benches narrowly survived defeat in the house on Monday when several members of like-minded group of PTI abstained from voting on a privilege motion moved by the opposition.
After detailed discussion on the motion moved by JUI-F MPA Munawar Khan about the role of the chairman of district advisory development committees, Speaker Asad Qaisar put it to vote which was defeated by three votes only. Twenty-seven MPAs of the ruling coalition voted against the motion against the opposition’s 24 votes.
The mover, who is the chairman of the DADC, complained that the relevant executive engineer of public health engineering in Lakki Marwat district had approved drinking water schemes without his approval.
He said under the law, every One-on-one contest for PA deputy speaker today scheme should be discussed with the chairman of the committee.
The mover said he had been ignored in approval of schemes and his privilege had been breached and therefore, the motion shoul be referred to the relevant committee.
Minister Shah Farman opposed the motion and assured that he was ready to address grievances of the MPA.
When it was put to vote, seven PTI MPAs did not rise from their seats and abstained from vote.
Later, the opposition staged a walkout from the house.
During the question hour, the house was informed that several members of the cabinet had occupied dual offices simultaneously and had been receiving incentives of both positions.
Mufti Said Janan of JUI-F, who moved question, pointed that ministers, advisers and special assistants to the chief minister had been appointed the DADC chairmen and had been withdrawing honorarium and other incentives. Speaker Asad Qaisar admitted the question for detailed discussion.
The house also passed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Partnership (Amendment) Bill, 2015.
Published in Dawn, December 22nd, 2015