Colleagues block oath-taking of minority MPA-elect

Updated February 28, 2018

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PESHAWAR: The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s MPA-elect Baldev Kumar, who is being tried in the CM adviser Sardar Soran Singh murder case, was stopped by angry lawmakers from taking oath of his office on Tuesday.

Jehandad Khan and Zahid Durrani of the PTI threw shoes and pads of paper at the MPA-elect on the floor of the house amid sloganeering by the MPAs “expel the murderer from the assembly.”

Sergeant-at-arms Nadir Khan and security staff members of the assembly immediately whisked Baldev Kumar to the lobby and locked its door when some MPAs attempted to scold him.

Shoes thrown at accused in CM adviser murder case

The MPA-elect was then shifted out of the premises before being handed over to the officials of the Peshawar Central Jail.

Speaker Asad Qaisar had issued the production order for the undertrial lawmaker-elect to take oath of his office in line with the directives of the Peshawar High Court.

The court had ordered the issuance of the production order for Mr Kumar to take oath and cast vote in the upcoming Senate elections.

Mr Kumar, who belongs to Shangla district, was arrested in the case of the murder of adviser to the chief minister for minorities Sardar Soran Singh, who was killed on April 22, 2016.

The MPA-elect has been in jail since 2016 with the seat lying vacant.

He was shifted from Buner to Peshawar when the assembly’s speaker issued production order for him.

The assembly’s security staff members brought him to the house when the session began.

After recitation from the Holy Quran, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl MPA Mehmood Khan Bhittani took the floor and complained that a ‘murderer’ had been brought to the assembly to take oath.

He insisted that the man (Baldev) ruthlessly killed our colleague to become MPA.

The lawmaker flayed the government’s action for bringing a killer to the house to secure his vote in the Senate elections.

Speaker Asad Qaisar, who was chairing the session, asked information minister Shah Farman to respond to the member’s complaint.

The minister contended that the speaker had issued production order for Baldev Kumar on the high court’s directives.

He asked the opposition not to politicise the issue and requested the chair to go through the court’s order about it.

While opposing the production order, opposition leader Maulana Lutfur Rehman said the government could challenge the Peshawar High Court’s order in the Supreme Court to block Beldev Kumar’s oath-taking.

“It seems that Soran Singh was killed today when I saw Baldev Kumar in the house,” he said. Other MPAs from the opposition side also criticised the government for producing Mr Kumar in the assembly and said the government showed disloyalty to the blood of Sardar Soran Singh just for the sake of getting vote in the Senate elections.

The opposition MPAs warned they would gather around the speaker’s dice to prevent him from administering the oath to Mr Kumar, who wore a red turban.

Emotional outbursts of the opposition MPAs forced minister Shah Farman to withdraw his remarks.

The minister didn’t defend the government’s stand and said both treasury and opposition would stage a walkout to break the quorum in an attempt to deny the speaker from administering oath to Mr Kumar.

When the lawmakers began leaving the floor, few MPAs of the treasury side passed harsh remarks against Mr Kumar. The security staff members whisked MPA-elect to the lobby when Arbab Jehandad threw shoes at him.

The chair immediately adjourned the sitting until Friday.

A controversial piece of legislation about amendment to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information Act, 2013, was also on the agenda.

The government has proposed six amendments to the act.

Another agenda item about the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Salaries and Allowances of Members) (Amendment) Bill, 2018, was also circulated ahead of the protest.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2018