ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate for Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq spent busy day Sunday approaching heads of political parties both in opposition and part of the ruling alliance to garner maximum support for him. Sources aware of the developments taking place on this front informed The Nation that ruling PML-N wanted to get maximum support for its candidate otherwise as per rules the candidate just require simple majority in the house to win the elections for the slot.

The major achievement for the ruling PML-N was the withdrawal of FATA candidate for the slot, Gazi Ghulab Jamal who withdrew in favour of Ayaz Sadiq after getting assurance from the level of prime minister that all the genuine issues relating to FATA would be resolved on priority basis, including granting of more civil rights to the people still groaning under the draconian laws like FCR. Some insiders in the meeting of Sardar Ayaz Sadiq with FATA MPs informed that GG Jamal spoke out his heart before him and minced no words in saying that the incumbent government like the previous governments has done nothing concrete for the welfare of the people of one of the most backward areas in the country.

He said the government should come up with something concrete as they had seen a mere lip-service and hollow promises on part of the government be it the development of the area or issue of granting them more civil rights. Sources aware of the telephonic conversations between GG Jamal and the prime minister informed that Premier Sharif has assured him that the government would extend all-out support in bringing people of FATA at par with rest of the country and would do whatever they could for granting them rights, including introducing constitutional amendment. Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid) central leader Ch Pervaiz Elahi also rang up Ayaz Sadiq yesterday and assured him his party’s backing in the election for the slot of Speaker National Assembly. He further said PML-Q wanted to see him elected unopposed to the slot as Speaker is custodian of the house and does not represent any political party or group once elected to the coveted office.

Some insiders in PML-Q informed that Ch Pervaiz Elahi has also approached PTI leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi on telephone and requested him to convince the party leadership to withdraw their candidate to pave the way for unopposed election of Speaker. But those close to PTI leadership were of the view that the party would not withdraw its candidate as by doing so an impression of their acceptance of by-polls results in NA-122 would be established, whereas the party had already questioned the validity of the by-polls and pointed out that several thousand votes were ported out from the constituency ahead of these elections and had already raised the issue with appropriate forum.

It is interesting to note that Jamaat-e-Islami, an ally of PTI in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has decided to support the candidature of Sardar Ayaz Sadiq instead of Shafqat Mahmood, the PTI candidate for speakership. The results for the Speaker’s elections are obvious but the alignment of political parties in these elections would definitely be leaving far-reaching impact on the alliance and grouping of political parties for future elections. It is interesting to note that some 11 parliamentarians belonging to various political parties could not take part in these elections as their membership was suspended by the Election Commission of Pakistan for not furnishing their assets details with the body which is mandatory. Among these MPs five are from ruling PML-N, two each from MQM and JUI-F while one each from PPP and PTI.

In a late-night development, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman announced that his party will support Ayaz Sadiq. He made the announcement after meeting the PML-N candidate. In a statement issued in Karachi, MQM also extended its support to Ayaz Sadiq.

APP adds: Minister for Information Pervaiz Rashid Sunday said the participation of PTI in speaker’s elections had proved their acceptance of NA-122 results. Talking to a private TV channel, he said the government wanted to go ahead for serving the country in collaboration with other political parties but unfortunately a peculiar mindset was using abusive language and levelling baseless allegations. Such mindset did not let the process of reconciliation succeed which harmed the country’s interest badly, he added. The minister said that Sardar Ayaz Sadiq as consensus candidate of almost all parliamentary parties would secure maximum votes. Pervaiz said Ayaz had not accepted the resignation of those who used abusive language, adding the former speaker dealt the matter of resignations of PTI and MQM legislators in a democratic and lawful way.

He said it was widely considered that Ayaz would be elected the speaker National Assembly with thumping majority. Winning elections in NA-122 was moral and democratic victory of the former speaker, he added. He said contesting the election of speaker was a democratic right of PTI’s candidate Shafqat Mehmood. The ruling party had accepted the mandate of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with open heart and other political parties’ in Sindh and Balochistan. PML-N did not create any hurdle during process to form provincial governments, he added. Pervaiz said the leadership of PML-N had decided to respect the mandate of other parties in various provinces after elections 2013. He urged the political parties to forget their petty issues, shun politics of confrontation as reconciliation was not possible in such an atmosphere.