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PESHAWAR: As the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly is completing its tenure on May 28, Speaker Asad Qaisar sent the schedule to Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra on Tuesday for the election of the deputy speaker.

Sources said Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl MPA Mahmood Ahmad Batni was the likely consensus candidate for the post of the deputy speaker as the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had yet to decide whether to contest the seat.

They said the PTI and JUI-F had reached an understanding to elect the latter’s nominee for the slot.

The office of the deputy speaker has been lying vacant since Dr Meher Taj Roghani resigned from it after election as senator on the PTI ticket on March 3.

JUI-F member likely to be consensus candidate for vacant slot

“The PTI has decided not to field own candidate against the JUI-F nominee for the slot,” claimed a source.

The PTI’s position in the assembly has weakened after it expelled 13 MPAs on the charge of selling vote in the Senate polls, while show cause notices have been served on six other MPAs. The PTI’s strength has reduced from 63 to 43, while three seats have been lying vacant.

This will be the third election for the office of the deputy speaker in KP Assembly.

Dr Roghani was elected the first female deputy speaker when her successor Imtiaz Shahid of PTI was appointed minister for law and parliamentary affairs.

When contacted, spokesman for the chief minister and MPA Shaukat Ali Yousafzai claimed that Mahmood Batni from Tank district would be the JUI-F candidate for the office of the deputy speaker.

He said the PTI hadn’t decided whether to nominate candidate for that office. MPA Batni expressed ignorance about such move. “I have not been told about the move by the party,” he told Dawn.

He added that it was very strange to elect deputy speaker only for six days.

Officials in the assembly secretariat said that Speaker Asad Qaisar signed the summary and requested the governor to send the schedule for the deputy speaker’s election.

The filing of the nomination papers and withdrawal will take place on May 21, according to the proposed schedule, while the election for the slot of the deputy speaker will hold on May 22.

The governor has already summoned the assembly session on May 22 after postponing it twice.

The speaker sent a summary to the governor under Rule 9 of the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Procedure and Conduct of Business Rules to file the office of the deputy speaker in the manner provided in Clause 93 of Article 53 of the Constitution read with Article 127 and Rule 8 on such date as may be fixed by the governor.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party MPA Ziaullah Afridi submitted a notice of motion for leave to move a resolution for no confidence motion against Speaker Asad Qaisar.

The notice was submitted on Tuesday.

Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2018