Voting underway for speaker’s election in Punjab Assembly

Voting underway for speaker's election in Punjab Assembly

LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly session to elect the House’s speaker and deputy speaker kicked off on Saturday 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.

Later, 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.

Polling for the new speaker started after the resumption of the assembly session.

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 vows to challenge any move assembly makes
Earlier during the session, SIC leader 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.

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.