ISLAMABAD: In the parliamentary history of Pakistan, Fakhar Imam is the National Assembly speaker who made the biggest upset by defeating his opponent Khawaja Safdar in 1985. However, he is the only speaker against whom a no-confidence move proved successful.
The then president Gen Ziaul Haq had arranged non-party general elections on February 25, 1985 and he was confidant to get his favourite speaker elected to run the House with remote control. Election for the speaker was held on March 22, 1985.
He launched Khawaja Safdar, father of Khawaja Asif, for the slot and 53 prominent political leaders – including Sheikh Rashid, Hamid Nasir Chattha, Dr Sher Afgan, Elahi Bukhsh Soomro, Haji Hanif Tayyab, Gohar Ayub, MP Bhandara and Rohail Asghar – proposed and supported his candidature.
However, Khawaja Safdar after secret balloting got 111 votes, while Fakhar Imam bagged 119 and was elected as speaker, which made Zia and his favourites very upset. On May 26, 1986, Rana Nazir Ahmad moved a no-confidence motion against Fakhar Imam and 152 MNAs polled in its favour with Fakhar Imam managing only 72 votes. Thus, he was removed from the office.
Later, election for the new speaker was held on May 29, 1986 in which Hamid Nasir Chattha got 176 votes and declared successful. Two other candidates Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali and Sheikh Rashid received only two votes each.