Islamabad: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), in its first show of power, clinched both seats of speaker and deputy speaker with their nominees elected by a clear majority in the National Assembly on Wednesday.
The party’s former speaker of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly and lawmaker from Swabi, Asad Qaiser, secured 176 votes against PPP’s candidate Syed Khurshid Shah for the speaker’s office. Shah bagged 146 votes. Eight votes were rejected.
Qaiser has been associated with PTI since 1996 and has been the party’s provincial president earlier.
PTI’s lawmaker from Balochistan and a nominee for Deputy Speaker’s post, Qasim Suri, beat the Opposition parties’ joint candidate in National Assembly Maulana Asad Mahmood, who is son of JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
Suri bagged 183 votes out of the total 327, while Mahmood managed to secure 144 votes.
The outgoing speaker of national assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq administered oath to new Speaker Qaiser, who later administered oath to his Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri.
Qaiser’s stint as KP assembly speaker has established his credentials for the National Assembly Speaker’s post but Suri’s ascent to the post of deputy speaker came as a surprise even for his own party members.
However, the members welcomed his election as he belongs to Balochistan and PTI’s decision is taken as a good signal for the people of that underdeveloped province of Pakistan.
Suri won from NA-265 (Quetta II) by beating Nawabzada Lashkari Raisani in the July 25 general elections.
He received 25,973 votes against 20,389 votes of Raisani. In his media talk and interviews, Suri has shown promise and confidence to serve the people of the politically-neglected province.
With a Master’s degree in International Relations, the new deputy speaker of the National Assembly has been a loyal worker of PTI and its Chairman Imran Khan since 1996.
It goes to his credit that he organised the party in Balochistan and has served as provincial president of the party twice. He is also a member of the party’s core committee.
Suri was given party ticket for a National Assembly seat from Balochistan in the 2013 elections but he was defeated by Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai.
Suri is married and has three children. The son of an Urdu speaking mother, Suri is a Pakhtun and his ancestors belong to a sub-tribe of Khiljis.
Suri is said to be one of Khan’s close confidants and his selection for the important office of deputy speaker is attributed to his close ties with the party chief.
After his election as deputy speaker, Suri said he would carry forward the PTI agenda of progress, particularly for the people of Balochistan. “I am thankful to the people of my province and my constituency for their confidence in me and will try my best to come up to their expectations,” he said.
“We shall take all the political parties along and people will see there will be no discrimination against any party,” he said.
To a question, Suri said a strong and vital opposition is must for democratic accountability and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf will give importance to Opposition members. “As deputy speaker I will make sure their voice is heard in the House and fair amount of attention is paid to what they say or raise as a point of order or calling attention, etc.”