Allied parties clinch speaker, deputy slots in National Assembly

Published March 1, 2024
Newly elected National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq administers oath to Deputy Speaker Ghulam Mustafa. — DawnNewsTV
Newly elected National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq administers oath to Deputy Speaker Ghulam Mustafa. — DawnNewsTV

A day after more than 300 members took oath as lawmakers in the National Assembly, MNAs on Friday elected PML-N’s Ayaz Sadiq as the speaker of the lower house of the Parliament and PPP’s Ghulam Mustafa Shah as his deputy.

Sadiq, the Sharifs’ loyalist, and Mustafa defeated PTI-backed Sunni Ittehad Council nominees Amir Dogar and Junaid Akbar for the coveted slots.

They were the joint candidates of the allied parties — comprising PML-N, PPP, PML-Q, MQM-Pakistan, Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party, PML-Zia, National Party, and Balochistan Awami Party — for the office of speaker and deputy speaker.

Out of the total of 291 votes cast in the house, Sadiq secured 199 against 91 bagged by Amir Dogar. Mustafa got 197 votes while Junaid of the SIC received only 92.

As the outgoing speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf announced the results, the house was abuzz with slogans from both the opposition and treasury benches.

After getting elected and taking oath, NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq shook hands with rival Amir Dogar and greeted him — a gesture appreciated by Ashraf. In his maiden speech, the PML-N leader urged both the government and the opposition were like “two wheels of a car” and urged them to work together for the betterment of the country.

Sadiq then held the election for the deputy speaker, which was won by the PPP leader and joint candidate of the coalition parties.

‘Stolen mandate’

Following the oath-taking, PTI-backed Amir Dogar lamented that his party’s mandate had been “stolen”.

“Form 47 stole our mandate, and 80 NA seats of ours were stolen,” he said. “Had they not been stolen, PTI would’ve been the single largest party in this assembly.”

Dogar praised PTI workers for contesting elections on various symbols allotted to them after the party was deprived of its iconic bat symbol.

He further said that the PTI was ready for reconciliation if its “stolen” mandate was returned. “You played a role in 2013. We are ready to cooperate but first give our stolen mandate back to us and also our reserved seats,” Dogar said in his speech addressing Sadiq.

Meanwhile, Pashtun­khwa Milli Awami Party chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai claimed that the establishment was “playing” with the Constitution of the country.

“Today is the first day of the National Assembly […] you should now pass four resolutions that the establishment and security institutions will have no role in the politics of Pakistan,” he said. “Otherwise we will thrash them with the power of the public,” Achakzai added.

On the other hand, PTI’s nominee for the National Assembly deputy speaker Junaib Akbar said that despite his ouster and subsequent arrests, Imran Khan had successfully prevailed in the hearts of the public.

“We don’t accept this assembly, and we won’t accept it unless our stolen votes are returned,” he said. “Unless our leader is released, we will not back down.”

“Don’t stay in this misunderstanding, we are not here for any alliance or talks,” Akbar added. “What Constitution and democracy do you talk about in which most of the people have won on fake Forms-45?” he asked.

Separately, PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal stated that no one person, party, or institution could solve the country’s problem and called for the politics of collaboration.

“The way forward for the country is in the strengthening of the Parliament and the upholding of the Constitution […] and this depends on the working relationship of the people in this house,” he said.

‘Incomplete house’

Earlier in the day, the NA proceedings were marred by ruckus by PTI-backed lawmakers who chanted slogans of ‘thieves’, ’ghulami namanzoor [slavery unacceptable] and ‘long live Imran Khan’.

In his speech ahead of the elections for speaker and deputy speaker, PTI’s Barrister Gohar Khan stated that the lower house of the Parliament was “incomplete” as the reserved seats had not been allotted to the Sunni Ittehad Council yet.

He emphasised that Ashraf was the custodian of the house. “You don’t belong to the party, you belong to this house. The point we are taking up, you should be taking up yourself and you should be assisting it too,” Gohar said.

“Article 51 mandates that the house has to be in full, including the members reserved for women and non-Muslims. Unless that happens, the house is incomplete,” the PTI leader argued.

PTI’s candidate for prime minister Omer Ayub also stated that the elections for the speaker and deputy speaker could not be held until the house was complete.

“Form 45 says one thing, Form 47 says something else. Let the rightful candidates come into this house, who had a rightful mandate. Let Imran Khan come into this house.

“We want justice. It’s in PTI’s name,” Ayub said as PTI-backed lawmakers applauded him for the fiery speech.

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