Raja Pervaiz Ashraf takes oath as 22nd speaker of National Assembly
His election was unopposed as no other candidate filed nomination papers: In his first ruling, NA speaker wants PTI lawmakers' de-sealed resignations for perusal: PM Shehbaz tells House rolling blackouts due to closure of power plants: Blames ex-govt’s incompetency, corruption for loadshedding
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PPP senior leader and former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has taken oath as National Assembly speaker after being elected unopposed on Saturday as no other candidate fielded nominations for the post, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
Pervez Ashraf was the only candidate to file the nomination papers for the speakership. His name was proposed by Syed Khursheed Shah and seconded by Syed Naveed Qamar.
Following his unopposed election, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf took the oath as Speaker of the National Assembly. Presiding officer PML-N’s Sardar Ayaz Sadiq administered the oath to the newly-elected speaker.
The House was also scheduled to take up no-confidence motion against Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri, but it was put off after he tendered his resignation from the post before the start of the assembly session.
After taking the Speaker’s seat, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf thanked the party leadership for reposing confidence in him and nominating for the speakership.
Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, a senior parliamentarian, had previously served as the prime minister for a year after his predecessor Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani of the PPPP was disqualified by the Supreme Court in 2012-13.
Former speaker of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Asad Qaiser, who was facing no-confidence motion, had announced his resignation at the floor of the House on April 9.
NA speaker wants PTI MNAs’ de-sealed resignations for perusal
Newly-installed National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Aashraf in his maiden ruling has asked the assembly secretariat to present him PTI members’ resignations after de-sealing them so that he could ponder over them as per the rules and constitution, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
Former NA deputy speaker Qasim Suri on Thursday accepted the resignations of 123 PTI MNAs after they decided to disassociate themselves from the National Assembly following the removal of PTI Chairman Imran Khan from the office of prime minister.
Imran Khan was deposed on April 9 by a no-confidence vote in National Assembly, days after he blocked the vote. After his ouster, Khan asked his MNAs to tender their resignations and refused to accept new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Speaking in the National Assembly, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that the country had the capacity of 35,000 MW of power generation, but due to the closure of different power-producing plants, run on gas and oil, different parts of the country had been facing loadshedding for the last few days.
Shehbaz said that about 6,000 MW hydel power could be generated which was linked to the melting of glaciers and the availability of water. But unfortunately, the CPEC coal-based plants and the new LNG plants that could produce about 5,000 MW power, including the one set up during 2019, with a capacity to generate 1250 MW, had been closed for the last four years. It could not produce the power during the previous government, he added.
Shehbaz maintained the former government did not give priority to such projects due to their incompetency, corruption and mismanagement.
The new plants could not generate power due to the unavailability of gas or expensive oil. The ministries concerned apprised him that they could not finalize the import of LNG as no one in the previous government was ready to supervise such projects.
He said the prices of LNG import had surged manifold and now, it stood around 30-35 dollar per unit. During 2015-16, the previous government of PML-N had reached an agreement with Qatar for the import of LNG and if it had not been done, what would have happened now!
The prime minister also appreciated Amir of Qatar’s personal intervention to provide LNG at discounted price.
The prime minister, however, assured that they have been trying to resolve the serious issues on priority basis. He informed that he had held a number of meetings with the ministries concerned.
Criticizing his predecessor, the prime minister said the former government was indifferent to the public issues, calling them as ‘stone-hearted’. The country had the capacity to power production, but the former incompetent government had brought disasters in every sector of life.
The prime minister referred to the slow-paced construction work on Rawal Chowk flyover in Islamabad said that the project despite a clear deadline for its completion within two years, had been stalled, multiplying public and motorists’ woes.
The contract was awarded to a black-listed company by the PTI’s government which had been penalized in the past.
He said in Punjab province, they had delivered such like projects within 72 days.
He also condemned an attack on the deputy speaker in Punjab assembly, terming it the provincial government’s fascist act.
The prime minister also congratulated the newly elected Speaker of the National Assembly Raja Pervaiz Asharf and expressed the hope that he would uphold the constitution and sanctity of the house supreme.
Fateha for martyred soldiers, Bilquis Edhi
The National Assembly on Saturday offered ‘Fateha’ for security personnel who embraced martyrdom near Pak-Afghan border in general area Isham, North Waziristan and passing away of renowned social worker and philanthropist Bilquis Edhi.
MNA Maulana Abdul Wasi led Fateha on request of presiding officer Ayaz Sadiq.
The National Assembly also passed unanimously resolution to express deep grief over demise of Begum Bilquis Bano Edhi.
“The House expresses its deep grief over the passing of Begum Bilquis Bano Edhi whose incomparable services and selfless devotion to the downtrodden and disenfranchised people of Pakistan have served and continue to serve as an inspiration for the world,” said the resolution moved by Bilawal Bhutto on behalf of all parties.
The House also acknowledged that philanthropists like Begum Edhi were a blessing for the nation as she worked tirelessly beside her illustrious husband for over 50 years, building and running charity hospitals, orphanages and mortuaries without seeking any laurels.
“This House appreciates that through her single-handed efforts, Begum Edhi managed to save over 16,000 orphans as she arranged for their adoption, blessing thousands of childless families in the process,” it further said.
This House extended its condolences to the family, the Edhi Foundation and to the entire nation over this irreparable loss.
“This House recommends to the government that Begum Edhi be posthumously awarded the highest civil award for her unparalleled services to the country and its people,” the resolution said.
Reporter Usman Khan