LAHORE - Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan has achieved the distinction of the longest-serving Speaker of the post-partition Provincial Assembly of Punjab.

He has been in the chair for more than nine years since 2008.

Rana Iqbal , one of the senior most Parliamentarian and political worker from Pakistan Muslim League-N, will also become the first Speaker to have chaired the provincial legislature for two complete terms - 2008-2013 and 2013-2018.

Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo stands second on the list of longest-serving PA speakers, with eight years to his credit in three terms: 1985-1988, 1988-1990 and 1990-1993, though no Assembly during his stints as Speaker could complete its full term.

Talking to APP on Sunday, Rana Muhammad Iqbal said that the distinction achieved by him was because of the political forces and stressed that democratic institutions should be strengthened in the country.  He hailed all the political parties, political workers and masses for rendering valuable sacrifices for the supremacy of democracy.

In the pre-partition Punjab Assembly, Khan Bahadur Chaudhry Sir Shahab-ud-Din had the distinction of the longest-serving Speaker with a cumulative tenure of 16 years, spread over four tenures: 1925-1926, 1927-1930, 1930-1936 and 1937-1945. In the post-partition Provincial Assembly, Chaudhry Muhammad Anwer Bhinder is the third on the longest-serving Speakers list with a period of six years to his credit from 1963 to 1965 and from 1965 to 1969.

Interestingly, he also acted as the Speaker for one day on April 4, 1977 before dictator Zia-ul-Haq imposed Martial Law on July 5, 1977. On the longest-serving Speakers list, Rafique Ahmed Sheikh of PPP is the fourth with a five-year term to his credit from 1972 to 1977.

Afzal Sahi also served the Punjab Assembly Speaker from 2002 to 2007 during Pervez Musharraf's dictatorial regime.

PA Speaker Dr Khalifa Shuja-ud-Din is the sixth on the list, who served from 1951 to 1955. Other speakers include PPP's Muhammad Hanif Ramay (1993-1997); Khan Bahadur Sheikh Faiz Muhammad (1962-1965); Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi (1997-1999); Chaudhry Fazl-e-Elahi (1956-1958); Mubin-ul-Haq Siddiqui (1962-1963) and Saeed Ahmad Khan Manais (1993-1993).