PESHAWAR: The provincial assembly is all set to vote for its new speaker and deputy speaker today who will run the house for the next five years.
As many 111 elected representatives had taken the oath of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly on Monday to become lawmakers.
During Monday’s inaugural session of the new term of the assembly, a schedule for the elections of the speaker and deputy speaker was announced. Per the schedules, nomination papers for the slots were to be submitted until Tuesday afternoon and the elections are expected to be held when the assembly reconvenes at 10 am on Wednesday.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which has a clear majority in the house, has nominated former K-P minister for information and higher education Mushtaq Ghani for the speaker’s slot. Mehmood Jan has been nominated as his deputy.
Both Ghani and Jan submitted their nomination papers for the slots at the assembly secretariat on Tuesday.
They will not be contesting unopposed, however.
The joint opposition, which includes the likes of the Awami National Party (ANP), Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), have named ANP’s Laiq Mohammad Khan as their candidate for the slot of the speaker.
Laiq submitted his nomination papers for the slot of the speaker on Tuesday.
For the slot of deputy speaker, PML-N’s Jamshaid Khan Mohmand submitted his nomination papers as per the agreement between the parties of the joint opposition.
On the other hand, the PTI — which holds a two-thirds majority in the house — has constituted a Jirga comprising its members in the assembly including Mushtaq Ghani, Mehmood Jan, Arbab Jahandad and Mohammad Asif to negotiate with the opposition parties and persuade them to withdraw their candidates from the elections of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker so that Ghani and Jan could be elected unopposed.
ANP parliamentary leader in the assembly Sardar Hussain Babak told The Express Tribune that a PTI delegation, headed by Ghani, had held a meeting with ANP’s leadership on Tuesday and asked for their support in electing PTI’s candidates unopposed.
“Asad Qaiser (former speaker K-P assembly) contacted me via telephone and sought my support in electing PTI candidates unopposed,” Babak added. However, he said that the joint party has yet to decide on whether they will withdraw from the contest.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2018.