KARACHI/PESHAWAR   -   The members-elect of the three provincial assemblies took oath of their offices at the inaugural sessions of their respective assemblies on Monday.

As many as 160 out of total 168 members-elect of the Sindh Assembly took oath at its inaugural session. The provincial assembly proceedings began with Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani in the chair almost more than an hour late by its scheduled time.

Soon after the recitation of the holy Quran and Naat, the speaker welcomed the newly elected embers. Since the speaker is also serving as acting governor and had also won a seat from Shikarpur in the incumbent assembly, he first himself took oath in the Sindhi language.

He later administered the oath to the 159 members in Urdu, Sindhi and English languages. The oath was initially administered to over 50 members in Urdu and to over 100 members in Sindhi while four members were administered oath in English. Those who took oath in English were Adeel Shehzad and Ali Khurshidi of MQM-P and Rana Hameer Singh and Rehana Leghari of PPP.

Members on eight seats did not take oath. Notifications on two provincial assembly seats, PS-48 Mirpurkhas and PS-54 Tharparkar, were not issued by the ECP while polls were not held on PS-87 Malir after the death of a TLP candidate.

According to the assembly secretariat, those who remained absent from the oath were PPP members, Ali Mardan Shah, Ali Nawaz Mehar and Pir Syed Fazal Ali Shah Jilan, Dr Seema Zia from PTI and Shahana Ashar from MQM-P.

Two MPAs, MQM-P’s Javed Hanif and PPP’s Sharjeel Inam Memon were brought from the prison to the assembly for the inaugural sitting after the assembly secretariat issued their production orders. Both are facing NAB cases.

The speaker announced the schedule for the elections of speaker, deputy speaker slots before adjourning the session until Wednesday.

According to the schedule, nomination papers for both the slots can be obtained on August 14 from 9am to 3pm from the assembly secretariat and can be delivered either by candidates or their proposers or seconders to the assembly secretary by 5pm. The scrutiny of the papers would take place till 6pm the same day followed by a list of valid candidates to be affixed on notice board by 7pm.

The election would be held through secret ballot on Wednesday (August 15).

One-third newcomers became part of the assembly. They also include 17 women and six minority members. 

PPP has the second largest lot of newcomers with 25 members. The sisters of Asif Zardari, Azra Fazal Pechuhu and Faryal Talpur, are also newcomers in the assembly.

Out of 23 members, MQM-P also has 14 new faces in the provincial assembly. Moreover, all members of the TLP and MMA started their parliamentary career from Monday’s assembly sitting.

The key leaders who took oath were former chief minister Qaim Ali Shah, PPP nominee for chief minister’s slot, Murad Ali Shah, former opposition leader Khawaja Izhar, deputy convener MQM-P Kanwar Naveed, former opposition leader in Sindh Assembly and GDA MPA Shaheryar Maher, Barrister Hasnain Mirza, former deputy speaker Shehla Raza, former information minister Nasir Hussain Shah, former PTI parliamentary leader Khurram Sher Zaman, Sharjeel Memon, Heer Soho and MQM-P’s Muhammad Hussain.

MPA Dua Bhutto who was elected on reserved seat from PTI ticket also took part in the proceedings in traditional Sindhi dress.

Rana Hameer Singh who belongs to the former ruling family of Amerkot, now Umerkot, was clad in tradition royal Sodha Rajput dress. He was wearing turban, lungi and kameez and a gold kara (anklet) on his right foot.

In a joint media talk of opposition parties outside the provincial assembly, PTI MPA Imran Ismail who is also a PTI nominee for Sindh governor announced the opposition parties had evolved a joint strategy for the election of speaker, deputy speaker and the chief minister in the assembly.

“The joint candidate of the chief minister from opposition will be from GDA while MQM-P would nominate candidate for speaker and PTI for deputy speaker,” he said.

He said the leader of the opposition would be from PTI, but no final announcements are made in this regard. “PTI chief Imran Khan has the final authority and he will announce the name for the opposition leader,” he said, while rejecting that PTI has nominated Haleem Adil Shaikh for the slot.

He further said final names on all provincial assembly slots would be announced in the late night reception for the new MPAs. He thanked the opposition parties for evolving a joint strategy.

He announced that Imran Khan would announce a plan for Sindh province in the sitting of the joint opposition parties of Sindh.

“Being in power in the federal government, we will also likely to go hand in hand with the provincial government for improvement in the province,” he said, adding that after becoming governor, he would play a role of bridge between the federal and provincial government for resolving issues between the two.

“I and Murad Ali Shah will also sit together in two or more days and prepare a programme for the province in order to get it approved at the federal level,” he said, adding they want progress of the province without getting any credit. He, however, said cooperation does not mean an end to the NAB cases.

Speaking on the occasion, MQM’s Kanwar Naveed Jamil said there is a lot of money in Sindh and if it utilised properly, it could help develop the province and improve lifestyle of the poor. “We want eradication of corrupt practices from the province,” he added.

112 of total 124 members-elect of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly took oath at the inaugural session which started with recitation from the holy Quran. In the absence of Speaker Asad Qaiser, Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha presided over the session and administered oath to the members of the KP Assembly. As Asad Qaiser took oath as a member of the National Assembly and relinquished the KP Assembly seat, the governor-designate Aurangzeb Nalota administered oath to the MPAs-elect.

The MPAs then moved to the speaker’s desk one by one to sign the roll and register their attendance. Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA)’s Hidayt-ur-Rahman elected from PK-1 Chitral was the first to register his attendance. Out of the 124 members, a total of 112 members of the assembly took oath.

The total strength of the KP Assembly – 99 general seats, 22 reserved seats for women and three of minorities – is 124.

The opposition members attended the session while wearing black bands to protest alleged rigging in the general elections. They also condemned terrorist attacks during the election campaign which claimed many lives of innocent people.

In the 2013 general elections, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had emerged as the single largest party and formed coalition government with the support of other parties, including Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) and Jamaat-e-Islami. However, this time, the PTI has secured two-thirds majority in the house and has no need to seek support of other parties.

The PTI has been allotted 16 out of 22 reserved seats for women. Nighat Orakzai of Pakistan People’s Party made history by becoming MPA on reserved seat for the 4th consecutive term.

Meanwhile, heavy contingents of police were deployed around the assembly building. As many as 400 police personnel had been deputed inside and outside the assembly building. The police had made strict security arrangements in view of the recent terrorist attacks in Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan.

59 MPAs take oath in Balochistan Assembly

APP adds from Quetta: The 59 members-elect of the Balochistan Assembly took oath of their office Monday.

The session started with recitation of the holy Quran after which Speaker Rahila Hameed Khan Durrani administered oath to the new lawmakers.

After taking oath, the newly elected MPAs offered fateha for the martyrs of Mastung massacre and those who lost their lives in the August 8, 2016, terrorist attack.

Balochistan Awami Party is leading the provincial assembly with the total 20 seats after securing 15 general seats, four women and one minority seat.