ISLAMABAD: Ego will be the ultimate winner when the elections for Speaker’s slot are held today, around three months after Sardar Ayaz Sadiq was unceremoniously shown the door of National Assembly. Ayaz, who was sent home by the Election Tribunal in August citing irregularities, made amends by recapturing his lost seat in Lahore by-elections in October - though by a lower margin.
The government delayed calling the session of the National Assembly until the deposed speaker had won to make sure the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf sees the same man on the head seat when they return to the house. The PTI calls it ‘ego politics.’ The Pakistan People’s Party and other opposition parties are backing the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz candidate but the PTI still wants to go for a contest – nominating Shafqat Mehmood as their candidate for the coveted post. The government considers this a symptom of ego. In all probability Shafqat is not going to poll more than three dozen votes but the PTI is not bothered about the numbers. The aim is to give the PML-N a fight, whenever there is a chance.
Ayaz Sadiq filed his nomination papers with the secretary of NA Secretariat on Sunday. Shafqat Mehmood and Federally Administrated Tribal Aras nominee Dr G G Jamal also enlisted as contestants. A candidate can withdraw any time before the assembly proceeds to elect the speaker. Sure to win, Ayaz said he will make efforts to conduct the proceedings of the Lower House in a neutral manner and will try to perform even better than his previous term. The optimistic PML-N leader said almost all the political parties except PTI were ready to vote for him.
Analysts believe a unanimous election for the speaker would have given a message of political maturity when the PML-N was sure to win in any case. “It would also have brought down the level of political animosity between the PML-N and the PTI. When Ayaz Sadiq is going to win with a heavy majority why not unanimously,” analyst Dr Khurram Iqbal said. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmed said the PTI has a right to nominate its candidate for any election. He said the PML-N accepts PTI’s mandate.
“Wherever, they have won, we respect it. We have no ego and if the PTI people believe in ego, they must shun it. We have to strengthen democracy not the culture of political tension,” he added. Aftab said the people had largely voted for the PML-N in the Local Governments elections. He said the elected candidates will now resolve the issues of their areas because they were well aware of the issues at grassroots level.
“People have expressed their confidence in PML-N and leadership of Nawaz Sharif. We are very much hopeful that National Assembly speaker, the parliamentarians and the elected LG members will prove their abilities and will work to facilitate the people of their areas,” he said. For his part, Ayaz Sadiq has advised the PTI to end the politics of ego as it would damage the national interest. He claimed his re-election and the PML-N victory in the LG polls make it abundantly clear that the PTI’s rigging allegations were baseless.
A senior PTI leader however accused the PML-N of supporting the politics of ego. “We still believe there were irregularities in the by-polls which gave back the seat to Ayaz Sadiq,” he said. Why is Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif bent upon electing him as speaker? Is that not ego?” he questioned. He said the nomination of Shafqat Mehmood was not a point of ego but PTI wanted to play a real opposition’s role. “We can’t leave the field open when other parties who call them opposition are in reality part and parcel of the government,” he maintained.