Sibtain Khan of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was elected the new speaker of the Punjab Assembly on Friday, defeating Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)’s Saiful Malook Khokhar, who was the opposition’s joint candidate.
The Punjab Assembly speaker’s seat was vacated after PMLQ’s Pervaiz Elahi was elected the chief minister of Punjab earlier this week following the Supreme Court declaring the election of PMLN’s Hamza Shehbaz as “illegal.”
Khan secured the speaker’s seat with 185 votes against 175 polled for his rival candidate. Of the 364 votes cast, four were rejected—three of the opposition and one of the PTI. The polling proceeded largely smoothly, but was marred by the PMLN accusing the government of trying to trace ballots—violating the secrecy of the vote—by printing serial numbers on them. Similarly, PMLN’s Khalil Tahir Sindhu raised a point of objection related to the position of the polling booth, saying cameras were installed above it. After his objection, the location of the polling booth was changed.
“Some time ago, police came to the House; the House was disrespected,” said Speaker Khan after assuming his charge, as he thanked the Punjab Assembly for entrusting him with ensuring respect for the provincial assembly. “I will try to prevent such incidents from happening again,” he said.
Congratulating the PTI lawmaker after his victory, Punjab Chief Minister Elahi said he hoped this would allow the Punjab Assembly to be operated in a “good” manner.
Also on Friday, the Punjab Assembly passed a no-trust motion against Dost Muhammad Mazari, removing him as deputy speaker with 186 lawmakers voting in favor of the resolution. There were no votes against, as the opposition alliance boycotted the voting process.
The election for the next deputy speaker, per the Punjab Assembly Secretariat, would be conducted on Sunday at 1 p.m. It said nomination papers for the slot should be submitted by 5 p.m. today (Saturday).