ISLAMABAD - The elections for the Speaker and Deputy Speaker National Assembly will be held in the morning today (Wednesday) and Pakistan People’s Party’s central leader Syed Khursheed Shah with the backing of joint opposition parties will contest against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and its allies candidate Asad Qaiser.
While for the position of deputy speaker, joint opposition parties have fielded Asad Mahmood scion of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and he would be facing PTI candidate Qasim Suri.
National Assembly Secretariat after scrutiny found the nomination papers of all the four candidates in order. The election of Speaker National Assembly would be held first through secret ballot and after the elections, the outgoing Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq would hand over the charge to new speaker and then the elections for the deputy speaker would be held under his supervision.
As the elections would be through secret ballot so both sides were to give surprise but keeping in view the declared alignment of the parties, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf would be having the backing of some 177 MPs while joint opposition have the strength of 148 members in the Lower House of the Parliament as per the party position given on the National Assembly website.
Khursheed Shah, the senior most Parliamentarian in the National Assembly and was part of Lower House of the Parliament well over 25 years, was confident to secure votes from other parties as well as he commands respect and support among the members sitting on both sides of the aisle.
On the other hand, PTI leader Asad Qasir who had served as Speaker Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly for the past five years was confident to win the coveted slot of the Speaker and even went to PPP candidate for securing his support as he considered that being the custodian of the house he should have the support from both treasury and opposition benches.
He pledged to take the house along and would establish his neutrality while running the proceedings of the house.
On the other hand, joint opposition candidate Maulana Asad Mahmood, son of MMA Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, said that he was having the backing of allied parties in the joint opposition and he would try to win the seat with the support of other MPs as well.
Asad Mahmood was elected member of the National Assembly for first time and soon after coming into the house he was picked by the joint opposition to contest elections on the seat of Deputy Speaker National Assembly.
The joint opposition during its initial meetings decided that being the largest party in the opposition alliance Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz was given the chance to field candidate for the slot of Leader of the House while for the positions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker National Assembly PPP and MMA were asked to field the candidates respectively.
Parliamentary sources informed The Nation that PTI candidates would likely secure more votes than their declared tally as some PML-N candidates would either abstain or would vote against the PPP candidate for the slot of Speaker because of their abhorrence toward PPP against which they have weaved their whole narrative.
These sources further said that the differences between PPP and PML-N started surfacing even before the formal take off of the alliance as some PPP leaders had opposed the decision of the party leadership for supporting Shehbaz Sharif for the position as according to them it would damage their political position.
When contacted, the PPP and PML-N leaders denied any rift between the joint opposition and said that they would contest these elections as decided by opposition parties leaders in their earlier huddles and formal announcement was also made in this connection.
A source in the PML-N informed that they would be backing the PPP and MMA candidates for the slot of Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively and they would have fielded their own candidates in the elections had there were any differences between the joint opposition parties.