PESHAWAR - Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Tuesday elected Dr Meher Taj Roghani of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) as a new deputy speaker. Dr Meher Taj Roghani has now become the first-ever woman to hold this office, which has been lying vacant for the last 14 months.

The seat had fallen vacant after ex-deputy speaker Imtiaz Shahid Qureshi took oath as a provincial minister for law and parliamentary affairs in October last year and in the absence of the deputy speaker, the assembly has been in session since October 2014.

Being a joint nominee from treasure benches, Dr Meher Taj, who was earlier working as Special Assistant to Chief Minister for Social Welfare secured 77 votes against his rival candidate Arbab Akbar Hayat of the PML-N, who obtained 37 votes. Arbab Akbar Hayat was the joint candidates of opposition parties, including JUI-F, PPP, ANP and PML-N.

KP Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar rejected four votes, while vote of QWP MPA Bakht Baidar Khan was cancelled for violating the polling rules by showing his vote before casting it. Besides, three legislators, who could not cast their votes included Amjad Khan Afridi, Maleeha Asghar Khan and the incarcerated Ziaullah Afridi.

Speaker Asad Qaiser, while announcing the result said that Dr Meher Taj Roghani of PTI and its coalition partners has obtained 77 votes while Arbab Akbar Hayat of PML-N received 37.  Speaking on the occasion, the losing candidate of PML-N Arbab Akbar Hayat congratulated Dr Meher Taj Roghani on her election as deputy speaker of the house said that removal of the fear of a possible defeat from the mind of PTI took more than one year.

He thanked the opposition parties for his nomination as their joint candidate for the post. The parliamentary democracy, he said, is the name of competition. 

Though the PTI candidate has won this contest, it has also united the opposition parties of the house, which will continue their positive role in future too, Akbar Hayat added.

The newly-elected deputy speaker, Dr Meher Taj Roghani in her brief speech thanked her party leadership and the chief executive of the province for reposing confidence in her for the post. She said that she will make all-out efforts to come up to their expectations. She pledged that she will ensure equal treatment to all members of the house. 

Earlier, in their speeches, Leader of the Opposition Maulana Luftur Rehman, Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha (PML-N), Special Assistant to CM on Information, Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani and Nighat Orakzai (PPP), Jaffar Shah (ANP), Senior Minister Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao, Dr Haider Ali (PTI) in their speeches congratulated the newly-elected Deputy Speaker of the house.