With the government’s decision to further delay the National Assembly session, political parties now have more time to plan for the NA speaker’s election.
Previously scheduled for October 26, the session of the lower house of parliament will now be convened on November 6.
An official of the Parliament House said the session was delayed on account of Muharram as well as the local government elections in Punjab.
The last session of the assembly was prorogued in mid-August. The long hiatus has affected the legislative business and at least six bills approved by the Senate have lapsed because the government did not get them approved by the NA within the stipulated 90 days.
So far no political party has announced the name of its candidate for the much sought after NA speaker slot.
Still, many believe that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, who was unseated by an election tribunal, would succeed in getting his old position back with a thumping majority.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is apparently in no mood to back the PML-N candidate, but the party has not yet named its own candidate for the slot.
The main opposition, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), also does not appear much interested in this election.
When asked about his party’s strategy for the speaker’s election, PPP MNA Ejaz Jakhrani said: “We shall only follow our leadership’s directions in this regard.”
A senior PTI leader did not rule out the possibility of a unanimous candidate by the opposition parties.
He said that despite the PTI’s strained relations with the PPP, the Imran Khan-led party could invite it for a greater alliance against the ruling parties – the PML-N and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F).
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has been in a joyous mood after the defeat of the PTI’s candidate in the NA-122 (Lahore-V) by-election.
His close aide said Rehman had proposed the name of Sadiq for the slot of the speaker, adding that in case the government succumbed to the PTI’s pressure, the JUI-F would withdraw its support.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 21st, 2015.