ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's National Assembly today re-elected PML-N leader Ayaz Sadiq as its Speaker with a thumping majority, over two months after his election to the House in 2013 was nullified over rigging allegations.
Sadiq was elected as Speaker after 2013 general elections but was de-seated on August 22 this year over a petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan who alleged that his election win was not fair and free.
He was again nominated by PML-N for the top slot after he won a by-election last month from Lahore, defeating PTI candidate Aleem Khan.
Sadiq, 61, was challenged by sole contender, Shafqat Mahmood of PTI, for the post of the Speaker, after another challenger Ghazi Ghulab Jamal withdrew.
"Ayaz Sadiq got 268 votes while Shafqat Mahmood was polled 31 votes. One vote was declared as invalid," Acting Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi said.
Out of the House of 342 members, 300 members were present to cast their vote.
Sadiq was administered the oath of the office by the Acting Speaker soon after the announcement of his victory.
"I thank everyone for supporting me. I promise to run the House according to the rules and law," Sadiq said after taking over as the Speaker.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was also present and was first to cast his vote.
Given the numerical strength of the ruling party and its allies, the election was just a formality and Sadiq was all set to return as speaker of the house for a second time.
Observers view his re-election as a setback to Imran, who was defeated by Sadiq in 2013.
Sadiq, incidentally, is a close friend of Imran since college days in Lahore when they went to prestigious Atchison College and played cricket together.
Sadiq also started out as a politician being a member of PTI but later changed sides to PML-N.