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Voting for new Punjab Assembly Speaker briefly paused after opposition questions ballot papers

ANI | Updated: Jul 29, 2022 22:26 IST

Lahore [Pakistan], July 29 (ANI): Voting to elect a new Punjab Assembly Speaker was briefly paused on Friday after Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) nominee Saiful Malook Khokhar raised questions on ballot serial numbers.
Saiful Malook Khokhar, PML-N's nominee for the Speaker, raised objections to the serial numbers on the ballot papers and reportedly threw them away.
The session is being chaired by the Panel of Chairman Wasim Badozai. Subsequently, Badozai called security inside the House after Khokhar raised objections, reported Dawn.
Sibtain Khan, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker from Mianwali, has been nominated by the ruling coalition comprising PTI and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) for the office of the Speaker, while opposition parties PML-N and PPP have fielded Khokhar as their joint candidate.
The nomination papers of both the contestants were cleared after scrutiny by newly appointed assembly secretary Inayatullah Lak. His predecessor Mohammad Khan Bhatti was transferred and posted as principal secretary to the Chief Minister in an unprecedented move as no assembly service officer has ever been sent on deputation to a general service post.
Voting is underway in the Punjab Assembly, after the office fell vacant when the previous speaker, Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, was sworn in as the chief minister, reported Dawn.
According to Dawn, Chief Minister Elahi had cast his vote as well. However, at 8 pm, the voting was temporarily halted after the opposition benches alleged foul play.

Earlier, lawmakers arrived at the assembly building, and television footage showed ousted Punjab chief minister Hamza Shehbaz speaking briefly to reporters.
In its proceedings yesterday, the House adopted a resolution seeking the suspension of the assembly rules that authorise the governor to summon a session for the contest and also hold a vote of no-confidence against Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Mohammad Mazari, reported Dawn.
Ahead of the session, a joint provincial parliamentary party meeting of the PTI and the PML-Q took place with Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi in the chair.
Senior PTI leaders Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Fawad Chaudhry, Asad Umar and Umer Cheema were also part of the meeting.
Earlier, a sitting of the longest session of the assembly was held with Wasim Badozai in the chair in which former law minister Raja Basharat tabled a resolution to suspend the rules of business for holding polls for the seat of the speaker and for a no-confidence vote against Deputy Speaker Mazari on Friday (today) afternoon. The motion was adopted with a majority vote, reported Dawn.
After reading out the procedure for the election of the new speaker, Badozai put off the proceedings till Friday.
The long-drawn-out battle for the provincial chief executive had finally drawn to a close earlier this week after the Supreme Court struck down the deputy speaker's ruling on the Punjab chief minister's re-election, which had led to Hamza Shehbaz's victory.
During the election, the deputy speaker had decided against counting the votes of 10 PML-Q lawmakers, which were cast in Elahi's favour, citing a letter written by party President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain in which he had instructed them to vote for Hamza instead. That decision had tipped the balance in Hamza's favour -- an advantage the SC reversed in its verdict on Tuesday.
Elahi was, subsequently, sworn in at 2 am on Wednesday. (ANI)