Islamabad: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Asad Qaiser was elected as the Speaker of the National Assembly or the lower house of the country’s Parliament on Wednesday, beating PPP stalwart Khursheed Shah, who was fielded by an alliance of the opposition parties.
Qaiser received 176 votes to be elected to the speakership, whereas Shah got 146 votes. The election took place through a secret ballot. A total of 330 votes were cast, out of which 322 were accepted and eight were rejected, Dawn online reported.
Among those who cast their vote were PTI chairman and Prime Minister-in-waiting Imran Khan and Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari who has been elected to the National Assembly for the first time.
Qaiser was administered the oath by outgoing Speaker Ayaz Sadiq amid chants of “vote ko izzat do” by opposition lawmakers from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). They also displayed posters of their leader Nawaz Sharif, who is currently serving a 10-year jail term following his conviction in the Avenfield corruption reference.
MNAs from the PPP, which was also sitting in the opposition, remained silent. The opposition lawmakers decried the alleged rigging that they said helped the PTI win the July 25 general election.
Following the selection of the Speaker, polling began for the election of the deputy speaker in the Assembly. The contest was between the PTI’s Qasim Suri and the opposition’s candidate Asad Mehmood.
Qaiser, who belongs to the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, will be the 21st Speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly. He had served as the Speaker of the provincial assembly of KP for five years from June 2013 to May 2018.
Earlier, Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani of the PTI was elected the Speaker and Mehmood Jan the deputy speaker of KP’s provincial assembly.
In southern Sindh province, Agha Siraj Durrani of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was elected the Speaker of the Sindh assembly for the second consecutive term defeating the opposition candidate Javed Hanif. The PPP emerged as the largest party in Sindh and will form the government in the province.