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New rulers take the House; 301 newly elected MNAs take oath

02 June, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: A total of 301 out of 323 newly elected MNAs took oath in the inaugural session of the 14th National Assembly on Saturday by pledging loyalty to the country and the constitution amidst slogans and desk-thumping.

The swearing in of the newly elected members put in motion the transition of power from one civilian elected government to another.

Outgoing National Assembly Speaker Dr Fahmida Mirza administered oath to the newly elected members of the House, with the visitors' galleries filled mainly with the supporters of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

The House began the proceedings of the inaugural session two hours late from its scheduled time apparently due to preparations and allocation of seats to the new members as well as the PML-N's parliamentary party meeting.

The most striking feature was the arrival of PML-N President Nawaz Sharif in the assembly hall, which resounded with cheers, desk-thumping and slogans of party members and their supporters in the visitors' galleries, who stood up on their seats.

Nawaz returned to the hall after almost 14 years, as Pervez Musharraf ousted him then in a military coup.

The oath taking was followed by the signing of the 'roll of members' when each member was called to sign before his constituency, which charged the House throughout the session.

PML-N's Malik Abrar was the first one to be called to sign the roll of members.

The House erupted to cheers and slogans again when Nawaz Sharif's name was called.

After the signing, the House was adjourned until 11am Monday for the election of the new speaker and the deputy speaker.

In the first session, PML-N's Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Khawaja Asif, Ahsan Iqbal and Khawaja Saad Rafiq; PPPP's Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Syed Khurshid Shah and Faryal Talpur; Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, Dr Arif Alvi and Shafqat Mahmood; Muttahida Qaumi Movement's Dr Farooq Sattar; Pakhtunkhwa Awami Milli Party's Mahmood Khan Achakzai; JUI-F's Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani; Mir Zafarullah Jamali; Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed; Ijazul Haq and Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao were among those who took oath.

The PTI's chairman could not make it to the assembly on the first day because of his injuries, while Shah Mehmood Qureshi also did not turn up to take the oath. JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman, who succeeded on three seats, was also absent in the inaugural session.

Jamshed Dasti, elected on two seats, also remained absent.

PPPP's Shahjahan Baloch, who was arrested during a police operation form Lyari, was brought to the House after the speaker issued orders for his appearance in the House for oath taking.

The new assembly is studded with many new faces who have been elected for the first time to the House, especially from the PTI, as well as the women elected on reserved seats.

During the proceedings, the outgoing speaker also announced the schedule for filing of nomination papers for the slots of the speaker and the deputy speaker, which would be submitted with the NA secretary by today's noon. The election will be held through a secret ballot tomorrow (Monday).

The secretariat has also released a tentative schedule for the election of the new prime minister, which would be held under Article 91(3) of the constitution.

Nomination papers for the premiership have to be submitted to the NA secretary by 2pm on Tuesday, and the election will be held on Wednesday.

Over in Lahore, 345 members-elect, including a Sikh member, took oath at the inaugural session of the 16th Punjab Assembly.

The first session of the Punjab Assembly started 44 minutes late from its scheduled time of 10am.

Outgoing Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal administered oath to the new members, of which 274 have been elected on general seats.

The speaker congratulated the new members on joining the session and then administrated oath, in which the elected members pledged loyalty to the country, the constitution and the Islamic ideology. The members also signed on the Roll of Assembly alphabetically.

As many as 20 members-elect did not take oath on the first day, and were expected to get the opportunity during Monday's session.

Five seats – PP-43, PP-51, PP-170, PP-217 and PP-254 – are still vacant in the House. Election on three seats was cancelled, while results were withheld on one seat.

Later, the assembly secretary announced that election for the seats of the speaker and the deputy speaker would be held on Monday. As per the announcement, election on the two posts will be held through a secret ballot, and two polling booths would be established for the parliamentary voters.

Any candidate can submit his/her nomination paper by 5pm today, and after scrutiny, the eligible candidate will be announced within 20 minutes after the deadline.

After the announcement, the outgoing speaker adjourned the session until 11am Monday to elect the new speaker and the deputy speaker.

Meanwhile, tight security measures and protests by vanquished political parties outside the Balochistan Assembly marked the oath-taking ceremony of the newly elected members.

The session of the Balochistan Assembly started around half an hour late from its schedule time.

Speaker Matiullah Agha administered oath to 56 of the 63 members-elect in the maiden session of the provincial assembly.

Members of the Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal) did not turn up, boycotting the session in protest against alleged rigging in polls.

The chair felicitated all new members of the House and hoped they would run the business of the House in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.

During the session, PML-N leader Mir Hasim Kurd Gailo drew the attention of the House towards bomb attacks on PML-N Balochistan President Nawab Sanaullah Zehri in which his son, brother and nephew lost their lives, and asked for offering fateha for the departed souls.

The agenda of the session was confined to oath taking only. However, before taking oath, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party's (PkMAP) Parliamentary Leader Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal told the House that his party members would prefer taking oath in their native language, Pashtu.

Backing the point, National Party (NP) leader Dr Abdul Malik Baloch said that his members would also take oath in Balochi and Bravi languages. At this, PML-Q member Mir Abdul Karim Nosharwani opposed this proposal and said that since Urdu is the national language, oath should be taken in Urdu.

The speaker administered oath to the members in Urdu; however, some members took oath in Balochi, Bravi and Pashtu languages.

Before adjourning the session, the speaker said that nomination papers for the positions of the speaker and the deputy speaker could be submitted by June 3 in the Balochistan Assembly Secretariat, and election would be held on June 4.


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