PML-N’s Malik Ahmed Khan gets 224 votes to become new Punjab Assembly speaker

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PML-N's Malik Ahmed Khan

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Malik Ahmed Khan on Saturday was elected as a new speaker of the Punjab Assembly after securing 224 votes.

Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) candidate Ahmad Khan Bhachar bagged 96 votes, while two votes were rejected out of the total 322 ballots cast during the polling.

The Punjab Assembly session to elect the House’s speaker and deputy speaker kicked off this evening after a delay of one-and-a-half hours as the protests inside and outside the legislative marred the timely beginning of the meeting.

The second session of the newly-elected provincial assembly, presided over by outgoing Speaker Sibtain Khan, saw members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) chanting slogans against each other.

A heavy police force and prison vans were also present outside the assembly to ensure the maintenance of law and order during the assembly session.

Outgoing Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan presiding over the House’s session, on February 24, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — Geo News
Outgoing Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan presiding over the House’s session, on February 24, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — Geo News
Outgoing Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan administer’s oath to his successor Malik Ahmed Khan (left). — Geo News
Outgoing Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan administer’s oath to his successor Malik Ahmed Khan (left). — Geo News
PML-N leader Malik Ahmed Khan speaks after his election as Punjab Assembly speaker
PML-N leader Malik Ahmed Khan speaks after his election as Punjab Assembly speaker
Punjab Assembly’s polling agents counting votes cast for electing the House’s speaker, on February 24, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — Geo News
Punjab Assembly’s polling agents counting votes cast for electing the House’s speaker, on February 24, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — Geo News
Outgoing Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan presiding over the House’s session, on February 24, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — Geo News
Outgoing Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan presiding over the House’s session, on February 24, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — Geo News
Outgoing Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan administer’s oath to his successor Malik Ahmed Khan (left). — Geo News
Outgoing Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan administer’s oath to his successor Malik Ahmed Khan (left). — Geo News
After his election as the new Punjab Assembly speaker, Malik Ahmed was sworn in during oath taking administered by outgoing speaker.

Earlier, six MPAs, including Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader Chaudhry Shafay Hussain and Sunni Ittehad Council’s (SIC) Hafiz Farhat Abbas and Waseem Khan Badozai, and independent candidates Rai Murtaza Iqbal Khan, Fateh Khaliq, Tashakul Abbas Warraich, who were not present in the House’s inaugural session on Friday, took their oaths.

The sworn-in MPAs then marked their attendance in the register after the oath, following which the session was briefly adjourned for 20 minutes for the Maghrib prayer.

After this, the polling for the new speaker was conducted. As many as 327 MPA-elects cast their votes during the ballot.

Today, elections for the speaker and deputy speaker are being held via a secret ballot under Rules 9 and 10 of the Rules of Procedure of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab, 1997.

PML-N’s Malik Ahmad Khan and Malik Zaheer Iqbal Channer submitted their nomination papers for the slot of Punjab Assembly speaker and deputy speaker, respectively.

Meanwhile, SIC members Ahmad Khan Bhachar and Muhammad Moeenuddin Riaz Qureshi submitted their papers for the speaker and deputy speaker positions.

SIC terms assembly proceedings ‘illegal’
Earlier during the session, SIC leader Sahibzada Hamid Raza termed the assembly’s proceedings “unconstitutional” and “illegal” without the presence of the party’s MPA-elects on the reserved seats.

He said that SIC members were being barred from attending the assembly sessions

“A new history of politics of revenge is about to be made. We will not let the PA proceedings continue without members on the reserved seats,” he added.

Meanwhile, Rana Aftab termed the Punjab Assembly “incomplete” and vowed to challenge any move made by the House in the court.

Taking the floor in the provincial assembly, the SIC leader said that 27 reserved seats for women and minorities are yet to be decided by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

“[PTI nominee for Punjab chief minister slot] Mian Aslam is not in the House. He will contest the poll [for the chief minister] from our side,” he added.

At this, the outgoing speaker said that he could not tell the election regulator to summon the absentees to the assembly, which may require the session’s adjournment.

“I am leaving the chair [speaker’s post] in a respectable manner. I don’t want myself to have a label that I kept adjourning the session,” he said.

Sibtain said that there were 30 seats in the provincial legislative, which include the 27 reserved and three minority seats.

He said that if the ECP doesn’t decide on the seats that have not been notified yet, for the next six months, one party will have to move the high court while the other will have to move the Supreme Court.

Reacting to Aftab’s remarks, PML-N’s nominee for the speaker’s slot Malik Muhammad Ahmad said that the people, who the SIC leader was talking about are not part of the House.

Referring to Article 254 of the Constitution, the PML-N leader stressed holding the elections for the slots of speaker and deputy speaker.

Yesterday’s session marked the beginning of PML-N’s chief minister nominee Maryam Nawaz’s parliamentary politics, as 321 out of 371 elected members took oath as the new MPAs.

Out of these 321 legislators, 221 belonged to the PML-N its allied parties, 98 members of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) and one each of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and PML-Zia.

It may be noted that PML-N has become the largest party in the Punjab Assembly after the induction of 13 MPA-elects from PPP, 10 from PML-Q and five from the Tehreek-e-Istehkam Party.

Having the majority, PML-N has announced to form the government in the province with Maryam as its head.