Pakistan Peoples Party’s Raja Pervez Ashraf was elected unopposed as the speaker of the National Assembly on Saturday, with Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Qasim Suri resigning from the office of the deputy speaker.
The NA speaker’s office fell vacant on April 9 when PTI’s Asad Qaiser resigned, stating that he cannot hold voting on the no-confidence against the then-prime minister Imran Khan, which he said, was a part of a “foreign conspiracy” against the PTI government.
PPP’s Ashraf took oath as the 22nd NA speaker shortly after being elected unopposed as no other member submitted nomination papers.
In response to Suri’s resignation, PML-N leader Ayaz Sadiq said there’s no need for voting on the motion now.
He stated that the courts have specified the resignation process according to which it is to be presented to the speaker in presence of witnesses.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari extended his congratulation to Raja Pervez Ashraf on becoming the 22nd speaker of the lower house.
Referring to the recent political turmoil in the country, Bilawal, while speaking on the floor of the house, said that a mockery was made of the constitution and the house during the last few days. Pakistan’s image was maligned, he added.
“The selected prime minister, who was imposed on the house, has been removed. We are a coalition government now,” he said, adding that the change brought a ray of hope for the people. Addressing Shehbaz Sharif, the PPP leader said: “Mr prime minister all the institutions and the nation are looking towards you.”
“Those institutions who had been controversial, are now returning towards their constitutional role,” said Bilawal.
The PPP leader claimed that no power could stop Pakistan from progressing and developing.
In his opening note soon after taking the oath, newly elected NA Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf thanked Bilawal and former president Asif Ali Zardari for nominating him for the slot. He also thanked PM Shehbaz Sharif and the allied parties for reposing their confidence in him.
He maintained that earning more respect and honour for the House will be his top priority.
In his first order as speaker of the house, Ashraf directed the NA secretariat to deal with the en masse resignations of PTI lawmakers in light of past rulings and precedent. He ordered for them to be de-sealed and presented to him so that the matter could be taken forward in accordance with the law.
Speaker Ashraf took the decision after lawmakers called on him to verify the resignations submitted by the PTI MNAs earlier this week.
Congratulating the newly-elected speaker, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, while speaking on the floor of the NA, hoped that Ashraf would bury what took place in the assembly in the last four years.
Talking before the election of the speaker, PM Shehbaz brought it to the house’s notice that he held several meetings with energy and petroleum officials in light of the load-shedding across the country.
He said that the current capacity to produce electricity was enough for the country, but unfortunately, the PTI-led government did not follow up on the projects that had started during Nawaz Sharif’s tenure.
The prime minister said it was due to the PTI government’s “gross management and incompetence” that is causing load-shedding in the country.
“This was the most incompetent and corrupt government,” he said lashing out at the Imran Khan-led government.
The prime minister said that about 6,000 MW hydel power could be generated which was linked to the melting of glaciers and the availability of water.
But unfortunately, the CPEC coal-based plants and the new LNG plants that could produce about 5,000 MW power, including the one set up during 2019, with a capacity to generate 1250 MW, had been closed for the last four years. It could not produce the power during the previous government.
The new plants could not generate power due to the unavailability of gas or expensive oil. The ministries concerned apprised him that they could not finalise the import of LNG as no one in the previous government was ready to supervise such projects.
Talking about the flyover being constructed near the Rawal Chowk in Islamabad, he said it was written on its contract that the project was expected to be completed within 24 months, but due to PTI’s government, it was still not complete.