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Newly-elected KP Assembly Speaker Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani takes oath in Peshawar on Wednesday. — White Star
Newly-elected KP Assembly Speaker Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani takes oath in Peshawar on Wednesday. — White Star

PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani and Mahmood Jan were elected speaker and deputy speaker of the new Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly respectively on Wednesday.

They defeated the nominees of the joint opposition, which consisted of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, Awami National Party, Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

In the last assembly, too, the PTI nominees had held the two top positions.

Mushtaq Ghani received 81 votes against 27 votes of Laiq Mohammad of Awami National Party, out of total 108 polled votes. Two voters from the opposition went to the speaker in secret ballot. Aziz Gran of the PTI from Swat has yet to take oath of office and so, he didn’t poll his vote.

Mushtaq Ghani, Mahmood Jan defeat joint opposition nominees by big margin

Mr Ghani, a senior lawmaker, had served as higher education minister and adviser to the chief minister on information during the last PTI government.

Hailing from Abbottabad district, he was elected member of the provincial assembly on the ticket of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid in 2002. He however quit the party afterward and won the 2013 election as an independent candidate and joined the PTI.

Presiding officer Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha administered the oath to Mushtaq Ghani. Mohammad Didar, who elected MPA from PK-25, and Nighat Orakzai of the Pakistan Peoples Party, who was elected on seat reserved for women, didn’t cast vote.

Mr Didar was not present in the house, while Nighat Orakzai showed up only after the ballot box was opened. She asked the presiding officer in vain for permission to poll vote.

Ms Nighat protested and kept asking the presiding officer to allow her to cast vote saying the secretariat should have fixed the polling time for the election of the speaker and deputy speaker.

Mr Nalotha asked the assembly’s secretary if the rules of business allowed the late polling once the ballot box was opened. The secretary replied in negative.

Ms Nighat was later pacified by colleagues, who asked her to cast vote in the deputy speaker’s election.

Before the polling began, Nadia Sher of the PTI took oath of office.

Mahmood Jan was elected the deputy speaker by securing 78 out of the 109 polled votes. After announcement of the election results, Mahmood Jan was administered oath by Speaker Mushtaq Ghani.

His challenger, Jamshed Mohmand of the PML-N, received 30 votes. One vote was rejected.

Meanwhile, two candidates, one from the PTI and the other from MMA, have filed nomination papers for the position of the leader of the house.

The PTI has nominated Mahmood Khan from Swat and the joint opposition, including the MMA, Mian Nisar Gul. The election for the leader of the house will be held today (Thursday).

The house was adjourned until 11am Thursday.

Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2018