SPEAKER GB Legislative Assembly Amjad Hussain Zaidi
SPEAKER GB Legislative Assembly Amjad Hussain Zaidi

GILGIT: Amjad Hussain Zaidi of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) was elected speaker of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly and Nazir Ahmed of the same party deputy speaker through secret voting on Thursday.

PTI candidate Zaidi secu­red 18 votes while Ghulam Mohammad, joint candidate of the PPP, PML-N, JUI-F and Balawaristan National Front-Naji for the post of speaker, obtained eight votes.

Six votes — four for the PTI candidate and two for his opponent — were rejected due to inaccurate stamping. In total, 32 members cast their votes for the slot of speaker.

Voting and vote counting were held in the presence of polling agents of both contestants.

After the election, Mr Zaidi took the oath of the speaker’s office administered by outgoing speaker Fida Mohammed Nashad.

Voting for chief minister slated for tomorrow

Then the new speaker chaired the assembly session and held election for the slot of deputy speaker.

The PTI’s Ahmed secured 22 votes while his rival candidate Rehmat Khaliq of the JUI-F obtained nine votes.

Then the new deputy spea­ker took the oath of his office.

Earlier, retired Col Ubaidullah Baig of the PTI took the oath as a member of the GB Legislative Assembly beca­use he had not attended the session on Wednesday.

The election for the slot of GB chief minister will be held on Saturday.

The PTI has not nominated any candidate for the post while its rival parties have nominated Amjad Hussain of the PPP as their joint candidate.

Talking to journalists, Mr Hussain said the PTI had failed to evolve a consensus over nomination of a candidate for the chief minister’s post and claimed that a forward bloc had emerged in the party.

He said if the forward bloc fielded a candidate for the CM’s slot, other parties would vote for him.

He accused the PTI of imposing decisions taken in Islamabad without taking its local leadership and lawmakers on board.

Mr Hussain called for formation of a judicial commission under a judge of Supreme Court of Pakistan for an inquiry into alleged rigging in GB elections.

Out of a total of 33 legislators (24 directly elected and nine on reserved seats) in the new GB Legislative Assembly, the PTI and its ally Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen have 23 members and rival parties 10.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2020

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