ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s newly-elected Parliament on Wednesday voted an ally of Prime Minister-in-waiting Imran Khan as the Speaker of its lower house, kicking off the process of transition and handing over powers to the new government.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) Asad Qaiser was sworn in as the Speaker of the National Assembly, Parliament’s lower house, Dawn news reported.
Qaiser defeated Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) stalwart Syed Khursheed Shah, who was fielded by the joint opposition alliance.
The election was held through secret ballot.
Qaiser, the former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly speaker, received 176 votes against Shah’s 146. Eight votes were rejected.
Outgoing Speaker Ayaz Sadiq administered the oath to Mr. Qaiser among loud chants of “vote ko izzat do” (give value to the votes) by opposition lawmakers, the report said.
The new Speaker will oversee the election of his deputy.
After the announcement, Qaiser shook hands with opposition leaders seated in the front row. He will supervise the election process of the prime minister.
The PTI has fielded Qasim Suri for the post of Deputy Speaker while the joint opposition has nominated Asad Rehman of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA).
Strict security measures were put in place to avoid any untoward incident during the proceedings.
On Monday, Khan along with 329 newly-elected members of the National Assembly took the oath, setting the stage for the cricketer-turned-politician to form the next government, only the second democratic transition of power in the country’s history.