Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Sardar Ayaz Sadiq on Monday reclaimed the title of Speaker of the Lower House with 268 votes, beating Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA Shafqat Mahmood who managed to bag 31 votes.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif cast the first vote, after requesting the chair as he had pressing official engagements. PTI Chairman Imran Khan also arrived at the National Assembly after an absence of six months to cast his vote but immediately left after fulfilling the duty.
Sadiq is the first person in the country’s history to have been elected National Assembly (NA) speaker for the second time during the same assembly’s tenure.
The NA speaker had been deseated by an election tribunal in August, which accepted PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s petition challenging Sadiq’s 2013-election win.
Later, Acting Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi administered oath of office to newly elected Speaker.
After taking the chair, the re-elected speaker thanked the members of the House for their support in electing him as speaker with a two-thirds majority and assured to work for strengthening democracy and the parliament.
He individually thanked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for nominating him for the post, and went on to thank other parties including the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), PML-Functional, PKMAP, ANP, JI as well as independent members for deposing their trust in him.
”I am also thankful to all PTI members who voted according to their conscience and empowered democracy by being a part of this process. This win is not just mine, but that of democracy, the Constitution, and the parliament,” he said.
“With counsel from parliamentary leaders, we will run the House such that everyone’s opinions will be taken into account,” the re-elected speaker said.
“Kashmir is a cause close to us and we will keep it on our agenda and try to make progress in this area.”
“In terms of parliamentary diplomacy, we will try to keep in touch with foreign parliaments and invite them to the country to show them the real Pakistan, not the image the media shows, but our Pakistan.”
“The right to information and freedom of expression will be protected as much as possible. We will make our operations open to the media and public,” he said, calling on the media reporting on the parliament to play a responsible role in promoting a positive image of Pakistan.
“The green parliament was a dream all of us shared and it is still underway. By next month, the National Assembly will be the world’s second parliament running on solar power,” he informed.
After reminding the House of his achievements during his earlier tenure, Sadiq expressed his resolve to continue performing in the same manner.
Shafqat Mahmood congratulated Sardar Ayaz Sadiq over his win. “Decisions on all the important national issues should be taken in the parliament instead of all parties’ conference,” he said while addressing a National Assembly session. “I am not against all parties’ conferences, but it could not replace the parliament,” he added.
“I hope the speaker would play a neutral role,” the PTI leader added.
Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah also felicitated Ayaz Sadiq over his election as the speaker of National Assembly. Khurshid Shah said today’s election is the triumph of parliamentary democracy. He said the Parliament has played an important role for the strengthening of democracy and institutions.
Khurshid Shah appreciated the impartiality shown by Sadiq during his last term and expressed confidence that he would continue to serve in the same manner during the remaining period.
Former speaker National Assembly Fehmida Mirza while welcoming the election result said that Sadiq in his last term conducted the House’s proceedings in a fair manner.
Talking to reporters, she expressed the confidence that Ayaz Sadiq will continue to run the house with the same impartiality after his re-election.
Chief of Jamiat Ulema-e Islam-(F) Fazlur Rehman said Sardar Ayaz has demonstrated responsibility as speaker in the past.
He regretted PTI’s negative politics and said that it was contrary to our traditions.
PML-N Leader Hamza Shahbaz, in his remarks said that PTI Chairman Imran Khan should now accept his defeat and practice positive politics.