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Newly-elected MPAs take oath at the maiden session of KP Assembly in Peshawar on Monday. — Photo by Abdul Majeed Goraya
Newly-elected MPAs take oath at the maiden session of KP Assembly in Peshawar on Monday. — Photo by Abdul Majeed Goraya

PESHAWAR: Members of the newly-elected Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Monday took oath of office amid a token protest by the joint opposition against the alleged rigging in the July 25 election.

The MPAs-elect of opposition parties entered the assembly hall wearing black armbands.

PML-N member Sardar Aurangzaib Nalotha, who was in the chair, administered the oath to 111 members of the 124-strong house, who later signed the ‘roll of members’ one by one.

The assembly’s main hall was filled to capacity as guests and PTI workers showed up in large numbers to witness the swearing-in.

Disturbance as many PTI workers entered PA hall sans passes, kept shouting slogans

Disorder was witnessed all through the maiden session of the PTI-dominant house, whose ground and first floor galleries were packed.

Though the assembly’s guards tried to stop them, many PTI workers forcibly entered the hall without having entry passes.

They kept shouting slogans for their party leadership and against other parties’ prompting the chair to keep silent.

He also asked the assembly’s guards to drive troublemakers out but the orders weren’t acted upon as the guards to small in numbers.

Of the 13 members-elect, six members have vacated their respective seats to keep the National Assembly seats they had also won in the July 25 election.

They included Pervez Khattak, Dr Haider Ali, Ali Amin Gandapur and Asad Qaiser of the PTI and Amir Haider Khan Hoti of the ANP. Pervez Khattak has won two seats of the provincial assembly and one National Assembly.

Also, elections in PK-78 Peshawar-XIII and PK-99 Dera Ismail Khan-V have been postponed due to the assassination of candidates, including ANP’s Haroon Ahmed Bilour and PTI’s Ikramullah Gandapur, during poll campaigning.

While the ECP has ordered re-election in PK-23 Shangla due to low turnout of women voters, Wazirzada, PTI’s non-Muslim lawmaker from Chitral’s small Kalash minority, was conspicuous in his traditional Chitrali cap, decorated with bird feathers.

Mr Wazirzada, who is the first lawmaker from Kalash minority to make it to the provincial assembly, was thronged by visitors and journalists for taking selfies.

Senior politicians Akram Khan Durrani and Sardar Mohammad Yousaf returned to the provincial assembly after serving as federal ministers in the last PML-N-led government.

Similarly, senior politicians, Khushdil Khan of the ANP, Sher Azam Wazir of the PPP and Mian Nisar Gul of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal have reached the KP Assembly after a gap of five years. They were part of the provincial assembly from 2008 to 2013.

The only lawmaker, who spoke on the occasion after the swearing-in, was PPP’s Nighat Orakzai, who said under Rule 26 of the KP Assembly rules of business, the nomination papers for the election of the leader of the house, speaker and deputy speaker had to be submitted with the secretary of the assembly but the incumbent secretary had occupied the seat illegally if a court judgment was looked at.

She remembered and prayed for members of the previous cabinet Sardar Ikramullah Gandapur and his brother, Sardar Israrullah Gandapur, who were killed in separate suicide attacks in Dera Ismail Khan.

The chair later adjourned the session until Wednesday.

Former elementary and secondary education minister Mohammad Atif Khan told reporters on the assembly premises that the people had mandated the PTI to serve them for the second consecutive time.

“After forming federal and KP governments, I see no reason why the PTI shouldn’t live up to the people’s expectations,” he said adding that all ongoing development projects would be completed.

He denied differences in the party over Mahmood Khan’s nomination for the chief minister’s office.

“We all are friends and will support each other in the government,” he said.

Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2018