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Pakistan: PML-N's Ayaz Sadiq elected National Assembly Speaker, PPP's Ghulam Mustafa Shah Deputy Speaker

Ayaz Sadiq won 199 out of the 291 votes in the election held today in the National Assembly, beating his PTI-backed rival Amir Dogar, who won only 91 votes. PML-N has formed a coalition with Bilawal Bhutto-led PPP and four smaller parties to keep Imran Khan's PTI out of power.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Islamabad Updated on: March 01, 2024 19:13 IST
Pakistan news, National Assembly speaker, Ayaz Sadiq
Image Source : PML-N (X) PML-N leader Ayaz Sadiq taking the oath as National Assembly Speaker on Friday

Islamabad: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Sardar Ayaz Sadiq was elected as the new Speaker of Pakistan's National Assembly, trumping former PM Imran Khan-backed Amir Dogar by gaining 199 votes to the latter's 91 out of 291 total votes cast. Outgoing Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf announced the results on Friday during the second day of the 16th NA session, Dawn reported.

PPP’s Syed Ghulam Mustafa elected NA deputy speaker

PPP’s Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah was elected as the deputy speaker of the National Assembly with 197 votes. Shah’s opponent Junaid Akbar, from the PTI, secured 92 votes. After the election, Speaker Ayaz Sadiq administered oath to Shah, the Daily reported.

After taking oath as the National Assembly speaker, Sadiq has urged both the government and the opposition to work together for the betterment of the country. He also appreciated his rival, saying, "Amir Dogar sahib, you have always given me respect and called me ‘Ayaz bhai’. God-willingly, I will prove to be an elder brother."

Sadiq also referred to PTI-backed MNAs, including Asad Qaiser, Ali Muhammad Khan and Shehryar Afridi, as “friendly brothers with whom I have a relation other than politics”. He thanked his party supremo Nawaz Sharif, PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and allies from other parties.

Election marred by protests

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, the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), which most of the PTI-backed candidates joined, held a parliamentary party meeting in the house's lobby, where they vowed to continue their protest in the assembly, Geo News reported.

This is the second consecutive day that SIC has been protesting in the National Assembly over "rigged" results. "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 in Adiala Jail, should be brought to the Assembly. Omar also reiterated that the House was incomplete as the ECP is yet to announce the allocation of reserved seats in the National Assembly. 

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.  

Imran and PTI have alleged massive rigging in the February 8 polls and accused PML-N and its alliance partners, including the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of stealing his party’s mandate. The PML-N-backed candidate was expected to win as the Nawaz Sharif-headed party had tied up with the PPP and other four smaller parties to keep Khan's PTI out of power.

Independent candidates - a majority backed by Khan's PTI - won 93 National Assembly seats. The PML-N won 75 seats, the PPP came third with 54 seats while the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) had won 17 seats. According to the schedule by the National Assembly Secretariat, the election for the Prime Minister will be held on Sunday (March 3). The PMN-L and PPP alliance has nominated former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif as their nominee.

The election for the new President will take place on March 9. PPP leader and former Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari is expected to be re-elected to the post after a gap of nearly 11 years.

PTI-backed Ali Amin Gandapur elected as Khyber CM

Meanwhile, PTI-backed candidate Ali Amin Gandapur has been elected as the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The party-backed independents had swept the province by winning 84 seats in the February 8 elections. Soon after being elected Khyber Pakhtunkhwa CM, Gandapur slammed the “injustice and cruelty” imposed on party leadership, including Imran Khan and party workers.

“We need to change this precedent; today it happens with us, tomorrow it will happen with someone else. The nation will hold us accountable, and we will need to give answers,” he said in his speech, while praising Imran Khan for giving Pakistan a "better standing in the world". He also demanded the resignation of Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja for "stealing" PTI's mandate.

Gandapur defeated Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate Ibadullah Khan after securing 90 votes compared to the latter's 16. He also said that the party doesn't want any revenge, adding that they want a system that no one can abuse in this country. However, he set a deadline of one week to quash first information reports (FIRs) against PTI workers.

(with PTI inputs)

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