PESHAWAR - For the second time, both treasury and opposition parties in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly stopped the MPA-elect Baldev Kumar from taking the oath and staged a walkout from the House in protest.

The KP Assembly met with Speaker Asad Qaiser in the chair. Soon after recitation from the Holy Quran, the chair called in Baldev Kumar for taking oath as a provincial lawmaker. However, he was not present at that time.

On this occasion, legislators from both sides, government and opposition, started a protest in the House and said that they would not allow Kumar to swear in as MPA, who they alleged is a prime suspect in the killing of their fellow Sardar Suran Singh, a minority legislator, who had been killed at his hometown in Buner district in April 2016.

Baldev Kumar is allegedly being accused involved in the case. PTI lawmaker Mehmood Jan said they would not allow Baldev Kumar to take oath. His oath-taking as a member of the legislature would set a wrong precedent in the country, he added.

Jan alleged that late Sardar Suran Singh, who was a Special Assistant to the KP CM on Minority Affairs, was a member of this august house but he was killed just for taking his seat, as Baldev Kumar was on the second number in the priority list of the PTI.

As Baldev Kumar is the prime suspect in the killing of Suran Singh, thus, they would not sit with him, the PTI legislator explained.

Likewise, the PML-N Parliamentary leader in the KP Assembly Aurangzeb Nalota said that a wrong precedent was going to be set if Baldev is sworn in as MPA.

The enraged protesting lawmakers from both the treasury and opposition benches staged a walkout from the proceedings of the House.  As a result of which, the speaker had to adjourn the session for an indefinite period over lack of quorum.

On February 8, the PHC had directed the Speaker to issue orders for production of Baldev Kumar for the assembly session to administer the oath to him as an MPA on a minority seat fallen vacant after the assassination of Suran Singh.

Following the PHC orders, Baldev Kumar, who is presently behind bars in Peshawar, was produced in the KP Assembly on February 27 for taking the oath. However, both treasury and opposition benches strongly protested, raised slogans against Baldev Kumar and even hurled a shoe at him, which stopped the Speaker Asad Qaiser to administer his oath as a provincial lawmaker on minority seat in the KP Assembly.

ALL SET FOR SENATE ELECTIONS

Election Commission of Pakistan is all set to hold Senate elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly today on Saturday for a total of 11 seats, which included seven generals, two women reserved and two seats of technocrats.

The Election Commission of Pakistan has completed all the arrangements for the Senate elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and officials of Election Commission Pakistan KP chapter visited the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and scrutinized the overall arrangements for the Saturday polling, which will begin at 9am and would last for 4pm.

As per the notification of Election Commission, there will be a strict ban on the use of the mobile phone during the polling process. A total of 600 ballot papers have been issued to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly for which 26 contenders would try their luck for a total of 11 seats. A total of 17 MPAs will elect one senator for the upper house of the parliament.

 

All party members have been directed to follow the code of conduct issued by the election commission of Pakistan. The media persons will be permitted to cover the Senate election polling process.

All the returning officers have been given the authority of the first class magistrate and directives have been issued to them to keep the secrecy of voting.

Strict security arrangements have been made and FC personnel along with army have been deployed to thwart any untoward incident.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, the ruling PTI has the strength of 60 MPAs along with some independent members while two of its members included Ziaullah Afridi and Javed Naseem ousted by the party leadership are unlikely to support the party. 

The ruling PTI claims that they would secure six seats out of 11.

On the other hand, the joint opposition included Pakistan Muslim league has the strength of 16 MPAs, JUI-F has 15 MPAs, Qaumi  Watan Party has nine MPAs, Jamaat-e-Islami has eight MPAs, Pakistan People Party has six MPAs and Awami National Party has five MPAs.

The joint opposition has already held a meeting on Thursday to support each other’s candidates to secure the remaining five seats as per their party strength in the Assembly. On general seats, PTI will surely get four out of seven seats while in two technocrats and two women reserved seats, PTI will get one from each category making a total strength of six senators from the KP Assembly. There are also rumors of horse trading in the rank of both ruling and opposition parties as no one could predict the actual position early as in previous elections Qaumi Watan Party grabbed only one seat with help 10 members’ strength in the provincial Assembly while several of its members were blamed for voting to other parties.

 

 

SAID ALAM KHAN & NADER BUNERI