Only one PA speaker from Punjab in last 43 years
There has been only one Speaker in the Punjab Assembly from South Punjab region for last 43 years. The office of the Speaker - constitutionally the second most powerful post after the slot of the Chief Minister - was once again given to someone from the central zone of Punjab for the eighth time since 1970.
From 1970 to 2013, only one member from Southern Punjab has served as a PA Speaker, and that too only for a period of six months. However, a member from Saraeki belt has been picked for the slot of Deputy Speaker for the fourth time.
Sher Ali Gorchani, the Deputy Speaker elected on Monday, is the fourth figure from Southern Punjab who has been elected on this post. Before him, Sahibzada Usman Khan Abbasi from Bahawalpur, Mian Manzoor Ahmed Mohal from district Bahawalnagar and Sardar Shaukat Mazari from Rajanpur had held this office. However, from Saraeki belt, only one figure, Saeed Ahmed Manais, has held the slot of the Speaker in last 43 years.
Between 1970 to 2013, most of the PA Speakers either belonged to Lahore district or the districts falling in Lahore division.
After the first general elections in the country, the 7th Punjab Assembly came into existence, Sheikh Rafique Ahmed of PPP, and an MPA elected from Lahore served as Speaker and held this office from May 1972 to April 1977.
After the 1977 elections, Chaudhry Anwar Bhinder, an MPA elected from Gujranwala was elected as Speaker and held the office from April 11 to July 5, 1977.
In the 9th Punjab Assembly which came into existence after the 1985 non party basis elections, Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, an MPA elected from Okara (a part of Lahore division) was nominated as Speaker and won the slot unopposed.
Manzoor Wattoo continued to hold this office in the 10th and 11th Assembly which were formed after 1988 and 1990 polls. His deputy in 1988-90 term, Sardar Hassan Akhter Moakal belonged to district Kasur, another part of Lahore division.
In 1993, when after a revolt, Ghulam Hyder Wyne, the CM nominated by IJI lost majority, Manzoor Wattoo was sworn in as the new Chief Minister and, for the first time, it was Saeed Ahmed Manais, an MPA from Vehari who was elected as a Speaker amid lot of uproar, disorder in the House. This was for the first time that a legislator from Southern belt of Punjab was elected as Speaker but he held this office for a period of six month until the assemblies were dissolved and fresh elections were announced.
In the 1993 elections in which PPP emerged as a major party in Punjab, its nominee Hanif Ramay, an MPA elected from Lahore, won the elections of Speaker. The PPP government picked Manzoor Mohal of PML-J for the slot of Deputy Speaker but the office of Speaker once again belonged to the central Punjab.
In the 13th Punjab Assembly which was formed after the February 1997 elections, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, an MPA elected from Gujrat was nominated as a Speaker by PML-N, the party with huge mandate in the House.
In yet another Muslim League era, none from Southern belt of Punjab was appointed on the office of Speaker.
After the 2002 general elections, 14th PA came into existence and Musharraf backed-PML-Q emerged as the major party in the House which formed the government quite comfortably. In that term, Afzal Sahi, an MPA elected from Faisalabad, was nominated for the slot of Speaker and on the slot of Deputy Speaker, Shaukat Mazari, an MPA from Rajanpur was nominated.
In the 15th PA, which was formed after February 2008 elections, Rana Mohammed Iqbal, an MPA elected from Kasur, was sworn in as the Speaker of the House whereas for the slot of Deputy Speaker, Rana Mashood Ahmed, the MPA elected from Lahore was elected. In the 15th PA, once again, Southern Punjab could not get the slot of Speaker and Rana Mohammed Iqbal from Kasur has been elected on the slot. However, for the first time, PML-N has chosen a figure from Southern Punjab for the slot of Deputy Speaker who also won the election quite comfortably.
This is noteworthy that Southern belt of Punjab comprises of significant portion of Punjab and all the mainstream parties, including PML-N and PPP, have vowed to empower as well as fulfil constitutional demands of the people from the region.