Qureshi says PTI has ‘full confidence in members’ despite secret ballot in today’s election.

LAHORE   -   The Punjab Assembly is all set to elect a new Speaker today (Friday) as the slot fell vacant after the election of Ch Parvez Elahi as chief minister.

The session to elect the new Speaker has been called at 4:00 pm today. Mohammad Sibtain is the joint candidate of the Paki­stan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Q while Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has fielded Saiful Malook Khokhar for the Speaker’s office. Khokhar also enjoys the support of the Pa­kistan Democratic Movement member parties.

The Speaker will be elected by secret ballot and there will be no bar on members from ei­ther side to vote for any candi­date. The ruling alliance com­posed of the PTI, and PML-Q has 186 members while the numerical strength of the Op­position stands at 178 after disqualification of one of the PML-N members.

The Assembly will also take up a no-trust motion against Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Mohammad Mazari. The PTI is considering the name of Wa­siq Qayyum Abbasi for the slot of deputy speaker. Wasiq re­turned to the Assembly in 2018 elections from Rawalpindi.

The Punjab Assembly on Thursday suspended Rule 11 (1) and 12 (3) of the Rules of Procedure for the election of the Speaker as well as for the no-trust motion against deputy speaker. On a resolution moved by Muhammad Basharat Raja, the House granted permission to suspend the relevant rules.

Separately, Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that Sibtain Khan will be elect­ed Speaker Punjab Assembly. Talking to the media in the premises of the Punjab As­sembly, said that Punjab gov­ernor should administer oaths to the new Punjab cabinet re­gardless of whether he liked it or not. “If he cannot fulfill his constitutional responsibil­ity, then he should resign from his post”, he observed. Qureshi said that Imran Khan had nom­inated Sibtain Khan as Speak­er. “There is a secret ballot in tomorrow’s election, but we have full confidence in our members”, he said.

To a ques­tion, he said that Asif Ali Zardari wanted to make Bilawal Zardari the next Prime Minister. “He will try to weaken the PML-N instead of strength­ening it; the PML-N will under­stand this later one”, he said.

The nomination papers were scrutinised by PA Secretary In­ayatullah Lak and found in or­der and correct.

Earlier, the Punjab Assem­bly session started with Panel of Chairman Waseem Khan Ba­dozai in the chair. The treasury bencher, Muhammad Basharat Raja, speaking on a point of or­der, requested the chair to sus­pend rules of business to ta­ble a resolution, which was allowed by the chair