Pak Parliament set to appoint former PM Raja Pervaiz Ashraf as new speaker

Pakistan’s Parliament is set to meet on Saturday to appoint former Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf as the new speaker and take up a no-confidence motion against Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri for acting in favor of the previous government led by Imran Khan.

Ashraf, 71, from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) will be given the oath of office after he was deemed elected as no other candidate on Friday submitted nomination papers against him till the 12-noon deadline. The speaker’s office fell vacant after Asad Qaiser resigned on April 9 after failing to implement a decision by the Supreme Court verdict to hold a no-confidence vote against ousted prime minister Khan.

Ashraf, who previously served as the prime minister of Pakistan, and was elected after the office of a speaker was given to the Pakistan Peoples Party – the leading partner of the current coalition government. The National Assembly would also take up the no-confidence resolution already moved against Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party member and Deputy Speaker Suri, who is currently functioning as the acting speaker.

Just before the election of Shehbaz Sharif as the new prime minister of Pakistan on April 11, ousted prime minister Khan’s party lawmakers decided to resign from the National Assembly. Khan’s PTI on Thursday announced that Suri had accepted the resignations of 123 MNAs and the National Assembly (NA) Secretariat had also issued a notification in this regard.

The PPP and the PML-N alleged that Suri had put pressure on the National Assembly Secretariat to accept the resignations.

The members of the National Assembly on Friday received a circular from Additional Secretary of Legislation of the NA Secretariat Muhammad Mushtaq informing them that the motion for leave to move the resolution for removal of the deputy speaker from the office would be taken up on April 16.

The National Assembly Secretariat has already issued a four-point agenda which contained voting on the no-confidence resolution and the oath-taking of a new speaker. The parliament will also elect a deputy speaker once Suri is removed. Shahida Akhtar Ali of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, another coalition partner, is said to be among the front runners.

The Dawn newspaper reported that the ruling alliance has agreed that Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani will be replaced by PPP’s Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, who is also a former prime minister

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