PML-N's Ayaz Sadiq elected NA speaker in protest-marred session

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Sardar Ayaz Sadiq was elected as the National Assembly speaker on Friday, while Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah was elected as the deputy speaker.

Sadiq became the 23rd speaker of the parliament’s lower house after he bagged 199 votes, defeating Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Sunni Ittehad Council’s (SIC) candidate Malik Aamir Dogar, who bagged 91 votes. Later, Shah secured 197 votes and defeated Junaid Akbar, who bagged 92 votes.

Outgoing speaker Raja Parvez Ashraf administered the oath to Sadiq, while the newly-elected speaker administered the oath to Shah.

After the oath-taking, the new speaker thanked the leaders of all major political parties for reposing trust in his leadership.

In his address to the lawmakers, Sadiq assured the opposition members of running the affairs of the house with fairness.

“I am thankful to Allah (SWT) for being elected for the third time in this position. I am thankful to PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif for nominating me,” he said.

The NA speaker said: “Aamir Dogar has always called me a big brother and I will show him by becoming a big brother.” "My doors are open for everyone."

The PML-N leader said he would try to create a consensus in politics with the help of all stakeholders. He urged both sides of the aisle to have differences but in a democratic way. 

The prime minister's election is all set to take place on March 3 (Sunday) and PML-N's Shehbaz Sharif is in a comfortable to get elected to the top office for the second consecutive time.

Today's session
The NA session was convened today to elect the speaker and deputy speaker during which opposition lawmakers chanted slogans against alleged rigging in the Feb 8 polls.

Before the session started SIC's parliamentary party meeting was held in the house's lobby, where they vowed to continue their protest in the assembly.

This is the second consecutive day that SIC has been protesting in the National Assembly over "rigged" results.

As the session began, former speaker Ashraf asked if there were any new members present who had missed the oath-taking a day earlier. 

As no new members came forward, the speaker then gave the floor to PTI-backed prime minister candidate Omar Ayub Khan to speak on a point of order. 

The lawmaker alleged that foreigners were present in the house. 

"People who got fake mandate have entered the house, hence, they should be expelled," said Omar, adding that "prisoner number 804", the number assigned to PTI founder Imran Khan in Adiala Jail, should be brought to the assembly.

The MNA, who had a sore throat, said he would raise their voice even if their throat is sore or slit.  Ayub reiterated that the House was incomplete as the ECP is yet to announce the allocation of reserved seats in the National Assembly. 

After Ayub spoke, the ex-speaker informed him that the lawmakers that were sitting in the House were those who were declared as winners by the Election Commission of Pakistan after the February 8 elections. He also added that if they had an objection then they should approach the ECP. 

The ex-speaker's comments infuriated the SIC members.  Following this, the Ashraf began the process for the speaker's election.

The voting lasted for at least two hours and chants and slogans could be heard during the process. 

SIC lawmakers that cast their votes chanted slogans in favour of incarcerated PTI founder Imran Khan as they put their ballot paper in the box set up near the speaker's seat.  

MQM-P, PML-N agree to amend Article 140
During the proceedings today, a drama unfolded when the MQM-P surprisingly walked out of the house and boycotted the polling process for the speaker.

PML-N leaders — including Sadiq — went after them in Committee Room No. 2 to win them over in order to ensure that they return to the house and participate in the voting process.

In return, the MQM-P demanded a constitutional amendment to empower the local bodies.

After negotiations, the PML-N acceded to MQM-P’s demand and agreed to a constitutional amendment in Article 140.

Ahsan Iqbal and Mustafa Kamal signed the agreement on PML-N and MQM-P's behalf, respectively.

Meanwhile, raising serious reservations over the 2024 election results, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had already announced that his party would not participate in the elections for the top political slots — president, prime minister, and the National Assembly (NA) speaker.

The JUI-F leader, speaking to journalists in Islamabad Thursday, said his party would sit in the opposition and its lawmakers would abstain from voting during the upcoming electoral events in the assemblies.

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