PML-N wins PA Speakership, Deputy with majority vote

Malik Ahmed Khan secures 224 votes, opposition’s candidate Ahmed Khan Bhachar gets 96 votes
n Zaheer Channar elected as Deputy Speaker n 322 members cast their votes through secret balloting method n Session started after delay of one hour 33 minutes amid ruckus and sloganeering n PTI announces Rana Aftab as new Punjab CM candidate against PML-N’s Maryam Nawaz n Election of Punjab CM to be held tomorrow.


LAHORE/ISLAMABAD  -  In a second step towards formation of a new gov­ernment in the Punjab province, the Punjab Assembly on Saturday elected its new speaker and deputy speaker in a late-night session that extended until midnight. 

Mohammad Ahmad Khan of the PML-N se­cured the speakership with 224 votes, while his competitor Malik Ahmad Khan Bachhar of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) received 96 votes. Out of a total of 322 votes cast, two votes were rejected due to technical reasons.

Subsequently, the outgoing Speaker Mo­hammad Sibtain Khan administered oath to the new speaker who resumed the Assembly session and conducted the election of deputy speaker. 

Also, Zaheer Abbas Channar of the PML-N was elected deputy speaker with 220 votes while his rival Moin Riaz secured 103 votes. 

Even before the con­vening of the Assem­bly’s maiden session, it was a foregone con­clusion that the PML-N would capture the offices of the speaker and the deputy speaker given the huge differ­ence in the respective strengths of the PML-N and the PTI backed in­dependents in the 18th Provincial Assembly. So, only a formality was left to be fulfilled during Saturday’s Assembly session. 

Malik Muhammad Ah­mad Khan has returned to the Punjab Assem­bly for the fourth time from Kasur district. He is the second politi­cian from Kasur to have been elected as Speaker Punjab Assembly. Previ­ously, Rana Mohammad Iqbal also from Kasur served as Speaker for two terms from 2008 to 2013 and 2013 to 2018. 

Ahmad Khan com­pleted his LL.B. (Hons.) degree in 1998 from the University of Buckingham and has been practicing law ever since. Serving as a Member of the Provincial Assembly of the Pun­jab from 2002 to 2007, he also held the position of Parliamen­tary Secretary for Parliamentary Affairs during this tenure. 

He returned to the Punjab As­sembly for a second term in 2013 and assumed the role of Special Assistant to the Chief Minister on Information & Cul­ture from 2016 to 2018. In the General Elections of 2018, he was re-elected as a Member of the Assembly for the third con­secutive term. His father, Malik Mohammad Ali Khan, previously served as a Member of the Pun­jab Assembly from 1972 to 1977 and as a Senator from 1985 to 1994. Additionally, he held the position of Deputy Chairman of the Senate from 1986 to 1988.

Malik Ahmad was nominat­ed as candidate for the office of speaker just a day before the maiden session of the Assembly as the parliamentary party of the PML-N had earlier recommend­ed the name of Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman for the coveted office. 

The newly elected Deputy Speaker Zaheer Abbas Channar is son of former Punjab Minis­ter Iqbal Channar and was elect­ed member of the Punjab Assem­bly in February 8 elections for the first time on his father’s seat from Bahawalpur district. He is a graduate from Sadiq Egerton Col­lege Bahawalpur. His father re­mained member of Punjab As­sembly during 2002-07 and 2008-13; and served as Minister for Special Education and Pris­ons during 2008-13. He returned to Punjab Assembly for the third consecutive term in general elec­tions 2013 and served as Minis­ter for Cooperatives.

Also, during Saturday’s session six newly elected members were administered oaths before the voting started to elect the new speaker. Among those who took the oath included Chaudhry Sha­fi Hussain (PP-30), Tishqal Abbas (PP- 70), Waseem Khan Baduzai (PP- 214), Farhat Abbas PP-157, Rai Murtaza Iqbal (PP- 203) and Fateh Khaliq Bandyal (PP- 83).

Earlier, before the start of the voting process for the office of speaker, the PTI backed members asked the speaker to halt this process till the notification of re­maining members of the Assem­bly by the Election Commission of Pakistan. The speaker, howev­er, rejected their plea maintain­ing that election of speaker could not be delayed any further just because some notifications from the ECP were awaited.

The House also witnessed the usual sloganeering and trade of barbs as the members from the Treasury and the Opposition took their seats in the House. 

Meanwhile, the election of Pun­jab chief minister will be held on Monday (tomorrow). Maryam Nawaz Sharif is poised to become the first woman chief minister of a province in the country’s histo­ry. The SIC has nominated Rana Aftab Ahmad Khan for the office of chief minister instead of Mian Aslam Iqbal who is in hiding to escape arrest for his alleged in­volvement in May 9 incidents.

The Punjab Assembly session started one hour 33 minutes be­hind scheduled time of 4pm with Speaker Muhammad Sibtain Khan in the chair. Proceeding started with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran, fol­lowed by the Naat-e-Rasool-e-Maqbool. As many as 322 mem­bers of the Punjab Assembly cast their votes through secret bal­loting method to elect the PA speaker. Earlier, outgoing speak­er Muhammad Sibtain Khan had administered oath to six newly elected members of the Punjab Assembly on Saturday.

On completion of the secret voting for PA speaker and count­ing of votes, outgoing speaker Muhammad Sibtain Khan an­nounced the number of votes secured by Malik Ahmad Khan and his opponent Ahmad Khan Bhachar. Later, Muhammad Sibtain Khan administered oath to the newly elected PA speaker.

The second session of the newly-elected provincial assem­bly, presided over by outgoing Speaker Sibtain Khan, saw mem­bers of the PML-N and SIC chant­ing slogans against each other. A heavy contingent of police and prison vans were also present outside the assembly to ensure the maintenance of law and or­der during the assembly session. 

Meanwhile, Pakistan Teh­reek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Saturday night changed its candidate for the slot of chief minister Pun­jab, bringing forward Rana Aft­ab Ahmed Khan in place of Mian Aslam Iqbal citing the looming arrest of the latter by the Punjab police. PTI’s senior leader Ham­mad Azhar took to twitter to state that PTI’s founding chairman Im­ran Khan nominated Mian Aslam Iqbal as candidate for the CM slot but, he added, the police from all over the province were pres­ent outside the provincial assem­bly building to arrest him. He said, “Under the circumstances, in consultation with Mian Aslam Iqbal, the party leadership has nominated Rana Aftab Ahmed Khan as its new candidate for the slot.” Azhar said it was the fifth time that Aftab Khan has been elected as member of Punjab As­sembly and added, “According to Form-45, he enjoys the support of over 212 members.”

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