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KARACHI: As many as 165, out of 168, members of the Sindh Assembly are set to take oath at the provincial legislature’s inaugural session, which came into being following the July 25 general election, on Monday, officials said on Sunday.

The 15th provincial assembly of Sindh is scheduled to meet at 10am at the Sindh Assembly Building as per the order of acting Governor Agha Siraj Durrani, who is also the outgoing speaker and in that capacity had to assume the gubernatorial office following the recent resignation of Muhammad Zubair as governor.

Mr Durrani, who has been nominated as the new assembly’s speaker by Pakistan Peoples Party’s chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, is said to be present in the house to preside over the session.

With 97 MPAs, PPP is the largest party in the house followed by PTI and MQM-P

As speaker of the former assembly, Mr Durrani could himself or any individual nominated by him preside over the first session of the new assembly.

“Mr Durrani is going to chair the session,” said a senior official in the assembly secretariat.

“It is clearly mentioned in the rules of procedure of the assembly that he could still preside over the session and take oath of the new members or a nominee in his place could do the same. However, he will be in the chair on Monday,” added the official, quoting Sub-Rule 2 of Rule 6 of the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure.

Mr Durrani, who has been returned to the provincial assembly from a Shikarpur constituency, would also himself take oath of his membership before administering the same to the rest of the house.

Apart from 38 reserved seats for women and religious minorities, the provincial legislature has 130 general seats.

The Election Commission of Pakistan has notified the results of 127 seats as the results of two constituencies are still awaited, while the election on PS-87 (Malir-I) was not held because of the death of a contestant.

Needing 66 general seats to form its government in Sindh, the PPP has won 75. It has gained 17, out of 29, reserved seats for women and five, out of nine, seats reserved for individuals belonging to minority faiths.

The PPP has a total of 97 seats — 14 more than the required figure to form government without the support of any other party.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf is the leading opposition party in the house upstaging the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, which is on the third place.

The PTI has won 23 general seats and has gained five reserved seats for women and two for non-Muslims; totalling 30 seats.

The MQM-Pakistan has won 16 general seats and got four women seats and one from the non-Muslims quota; totalling 21 seats.

The Grand Democratic Alliance, which won 10 general seats has got three additional seats — two women and one minority.

The Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan and Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal won two and one seats, respectively.

The parliamentary groups of all the parties would hold their meetings before the opening session.

Besides, nominations would be filed for the election on the positions of speaker and deputy speaker, which are expected to be held on Wednesday.

The PPP leadership has already nominated Mr Durrani and Rehana Leghari for the two posts. So far, no individual from the opposition was announced to contest against them.

PPP leader Mr Bhutto-Zardari had also nominated ex-chief minister Murad Ali Shah as the leader of the house.

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2018