LAHORE- As many as 341 newly elected members of the Punjab Assembly took oath on Saturday morning. Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan administered oath to them in terms of Article 65 of the Constitution read with Article 127 and Section 6 of the Rules of Business of the Punjab Assembly.

The MPAs who constitute the 16th House signed the assembly’s roll of membership after taking oath. As many as 67 women legislators elected on general and reserved seats were also sworn in.

The house will elect speaker and deputy of the assembly tomorrow (Monday). On June 2 (today) nomination papers will be filed by the candidates for both the slots and scrutiny of their papers will be held after 5pm.

The Election Commission of Pakistan has so far notified election of 358 members of the 371-member house, the largest of all the provinces. Former Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif also took oath as a member of the Punjab Assembly.

PML-N leads the Punjab Assembly with 303 members, followed by PTI 26 members, PML-Q nine, PPPP seven, PML-Z two and one each of JUI-F, JI, PNML and BNP. Majority of the 40 independently elected MPAs have joined PML-N.

PTI is making its entry into the Punjab Assembly first time and is going to lead the opposition members, outnumbering and outshining both PPP and PML-Q, the main parties of the past.

The house started proceedings late by 45 minutes. When Shahbaz Sharif entered the hall, the members raised loud slogans “Dekho Dekho Kaun Aya, Sher Aya Sher Aya, but they were stopped by him with a hand sign. The chair greeted the members on their election and said it was a public trust in them and they should not disappoint the electorates. He prayed to Allah Almighty to help the members in the fulfillment of their responsibilities.

As the main chamber of the assembly was packed to the capacity, a number of members sat in the gallery. Shahbaz Sharif, for being elected on three seats of the provincial assembly, was the first to sign the roll followed by PML-Q’s Moonis Elahi who has won two provincial seats. Shahbaz left the house minutes after signing the roll. Later, the members continued to leave the house after signing the role.

About 60 percent of the members were elected first time or came back to the assembly after a gap. They showed a huge bustle and activity inside and outside the assembly, which was marked by exchange of greetings, relishing the experience of speaking before TV cameras, passing smiles and waving each other. Everyone appeared fresh and confident. Some members were received by their supporters with shower of rose petals.

On the main road outside the assembly premises, vehicles of the members made a long line while one member, Maulana Ghayasuddin of PML-N from Narowal, came on a motorcycle along with his son. Instead of fixing a number plate on the bike, the bearded Ghayasuddin had put a plate displaying ‘MPA.’ He told media people that he had carried out his election campaign on the motorcycle which his son drove. He said, “We need to save money to build our nation. Simplicity is what our religion also teaches us.”

A Sikh member Ramesh Singh Arora also remained focus of media people while the presence of his other Sikh relatives and friends made the scene quite attractive outside.

Arif Sandhela from Sheikhpura came in a car that had an artificial full-sized tiger sitting on the rooftop. A highly tight security had been maintained inside and outside the assembly premises.