The National Assembly will hold the ballot for speaker and deputy speaker today (Monday) under supervision of the outgoing speaker, with PML-N having a clear edge over political groups in the opposition which decided to field separate candidates failing to put forward a joint selection.

Once the ballot is done, outgoing speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza will transfer the powers to her successor who will then take oath from new deputy speaker.

PML-N’s candidate for speaker, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq told newsmen he would try his best to run the House as per the rules of business and constitutional norms after assuming the charge.

Sadiq was the first to file his nomination for the top slot along with Murtaza Javid Abbassi who is set to vie for the position of deputy speaker.

Given the fact that PML-N asserts control over major chunk of seats in the Lower House of Parliament, it could easily secure the vote to put its candidates to the two offices.

Interestingly, parties likely to sit on opposition benches have fielded their separate candidates for the slots of speaker and deputy speaker as they could not reach any unanimity over joint selection. PPPP has brought veteran Yousuf Talpur as party candidate for slot of speaker and Ghulam Rasool Goreja for deputy speaker position. PTI has fielded Shahryar Afridi and Munaza Hassan for the slots of speaker and deputy speaker, respectively. Similarly, MQM has fielded SA Iqbal Qadri and Kishwar Zahra for the slots of speaker and deputy speaker, respectively.

Talking to newsmen, Senator Ishaq Dar said the PML-N had brought most suitable candidates dismissing the notion that the slot of speaker was being contested by a party leader from Lahore, PML-N’s political bastion, and quickly added for the slot of deputy speaker they had brought a man from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Dar however affirmed that merit was being followed in selection of ministerial portfolios, saying only qualified people having impeccable character were bring considered for induction to the Cabinet.  PML-N’s efforts to win over opposition parties for Monday’s ballot dashed when these groups fielded their own candidates.

National Assembly is set to elect its 19th speaker through secret balloting today. In the earlier years of Pakistan, the President of Legislative Assembly worked as Speaker of the Assembly. Father of nation Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah remained President of the first Legislative Assembly from 11-08-1947 to 11-09-1948.

Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan was the second President of Legislative Assembly, who served from 14-12-1948 to 24-10-1954. Abdul Wahab Khan was the third Speaker of the country, who served from 12-08-1955 to 7-10-1958, Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan was elected Speaker for second term from 11-06-1962 to 19-08-1963.

Fazlul Qadir Chaudhry remained Speaker from 29-11-1963 to 12-06-1965, Abdul Jabbar Khan served the country as speaker from 12-06-1965 to 25-03-1969, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was President from 14-04-1972 to 12-04-1973, Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry from 15-08-1972 to 09-08-1973, Sahibzada Farooq Ali served as Speaker from 09-08-1973 to 27-03-1977, Malik Meraj Khalid served from 27-03-1977 to 05-07-1977, Syed Fakhr Imam from 22-03-1985 to 26-05-1986, Hamid Nasir Chattha from 31-05-1986 to 03-12-1988, Malik Meraj Khalid (second term) served from 03-12-1988 to 04-11-1990, Gohar Ayub Khan from 04-11-1990 to 17-10-1993.

Yousaf Raza Gilani remained Speaker from 17-10-1993 to 16-02-1997, Elahi Bux Soomro from 16-02-1997 to 20-08-2001, Chaudhry Amir Hussain from 19-11-2002 to 19-03-2008 and Fahmida Mirza from 19-03-2008 to 3-6-13.