— File photo
— File photo

PESHAWAR: The British-era Shahi Mehman Khana, also known as Royal Guest House, Peshawar was converted into hostel to provide accommodation to MPAs-elect from tribal districts.

Officials said that provincial government had formally handed over the official guest house to the secretariat of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly for accommodating the lawmakers. Built in 1942, Shahi Mehman Khana opposite the Governor’s House was earlier named after the then governor Sir George Cunningham.

It was serving as official guest house. Initially, the guest house was used to house tribal elders.

The assembly’s secretary, Nasrullah Khan, while talking to Dawn on Monday confirmed handing over of Shahi Mehman Khana to his secretariat.

He said that the guest house had the capacity to accommodate 17 newly elected lawmakers from the tribal districts.

Seating arrangements made in assembly hall for MPAs-elect from tribal districts

He said that the remaining four MPAs-elect from the merged districts would be provided boarding facilities at the existing MPAs Hostel.

He said that MPAs would stay in Shahi Mehman Khana till the construction of new blocks in the old hostel.

The assembly secretariat had sought possession of the guest house from the provincial government after the number of lawmakers was increased from 124 to 145.

Elections for 16 general seats of provincial assembly in the seven merged districts of defunct Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) were held on July 20. Four seats have been reserved for women and one for religious minorities.

The ruling PTI bagged five seats followed by JUI-F, which secured three general seats in the elections.

Two independents joined PTI after the elections. Balochistan Awami Party has four seats including one woman on reserved seat after three independents joined the party.

Meanwhile, the assembly secretariat has completed arrangements for providing seats to MPAs from merged districts in the hall. Officials said that seating arrangements for 21 MPAs-elect were made in the assembly.

Last row on the floor of the House has been reserved for the lawmakers from the merged districts. Officials said that chairs and microphones had been installed for the MPAs-elect. They said that LED monitors were being installed.

The government has yet to fix date for summoning the assembly session to administer oath to MPAs-elect.

An official said that the government might summon the session by the end of August. He said that many lawmakers had gone to Saudi Arabia for performing Haj which was one of the reasons for delay in the oath taking ceremony of MPAs.

Information Minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai said that government would summon the assembly session at appropriate time.

He said that date for the session had not been finalised.

“The government is not in hurry regarding oath taking ceremony of new MPAs,” he added.

Published in Dawn, August 20th, 2019

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