Sindh MPAs-elect set to take oath today as rival parties call for protest

Published February 24, 2024
Containers are being placed on main roads in the city’s Red Zone to stop workers of GDA, JUI-Fazl, PTI and JI from staging a joint protest in front of the Sindh Assembly, where MPAs-elect are going to take oath on Saturday.—Shakil Adil / White Star
Containers are being placed on main roads in the city’s Red Zone to stop workers of GDA, JUI-Fazl, PTI and JI from staging a joint protest in front of the Sindh Assembly, where MPAs-elect are going to take oath on Saturday.—Shakil Adil / White Star

• Red zone sealed for maiden Sindh Assembly session
• Minister says rallies are not allowed under Section 144

KARACHI: As newly elected members of the provincial legislature are set to take oath in the maiden session of the Sindh Assembly on Saturday (today), Karachi braces for a political showdown as five rival parties announced on Friday their plan to gather in front of the assembly to lodge their ‘peaceful’ protest against ‘bogus’ elections.

The caretaker provincial government has already announced imposing restrictions on holding rallies or gatherings of public in the so-called ‘Red Zone’ area, wherein the Sindh Assembly is located.

The maiden session of the provincial assembly will begin at 11am on Saturday with newly-elected members, mainly belonging to the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, taking oath of the 16th provincial assembly, as the elected members of other parties have decided to boycott the proceedings in protest against ‘faulty’ election results.

Extraordinary security arrangements have been made for the maiden session of the provincial assembly and only those persons holding the entry passes with identity cards of the institutions they belong to would be allowed entry on the premises.

The Grand Democratic Alliance, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Jamaat-i-Islami, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf and Mohajir Quami Movement-Haqqiqi on Friday announced that they would hold a peaceful protest in front of the provincial assembly building, adding that the elected members of the GDA, JI and PTI’s independents would not take oath of the assembly.

Caretaker Sindh Information Minister Ahmed Shah told Dawn said that strict security measures would be taken in and around the provincial assembly in view of the first session.

“Section 144 has been imposed in the Red Zone and the entire area has been cordoned off to ensure smooth arrival and departure of the newly-elected members of the assembly,” he added.

Meanwhile, a meeting, held at the Central Police Office Karachi with IGP Rifaat Mukhtar in the chair, viewed the current situation of law and order in the province, especially Karachi and gave guidelines while discussing security measures and strategies.

The IGP directed the city police chief to provide complete security to the roads keeping in mind the arrival and departure of members of the Sindh Assembly.

He further instructed that a crowd management unit should also be deployed for the convenience of the people on the occasion of the Sindh Assembly session so that any untoward incident could be dealt with.

Governor Kamran Tessori late on Thursday called the first session of the provincial assembly approving caretaker Chief Minister retired Justice Maqbool Baqar’s recommendation.

Assembly sources said that there would be only one-point agenda for the first sitting of the assembly, ie oath taking of newly-elected members.

The sitting of the assembly for the election of the speaker will be presided over by the out-going speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, or, in his absence, by the person nominated by the governor.

They said that the house would be adjourned after the oath taking ceremony most probably to Tuesday when the house would elect new speaker, deputy speaker and leader of the house.

Opposition parties announce protest today

The five political parties at a meeting at the residence of GDA chief coordinator Sadruddin Shah Rashidi also decided to form a 10-member committee of the parties to evolve the future plan and protest strategy.

Addressing a press conference along with JUI-F Sindh Ameer Maulana Rashid Mehmood Soomro, JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rahman and PTI Sindh president Haleem Adil Shaikh, Mr Rashidi said that various proposals against the bogus election were discussed at the meeting of the five parties.

He said that it was agreed that the peaceful protest would continue until the return of the snatched public mandate, adding that they had successfully staged sit-ins in Jamshoro and Moro against the bogus election results. “We have decided to stage protest in front of the Sindh Assembly on Friday at 11am,” he announced.

The GDA chief coordinator said that the elected members belonging to the GDA, JI and PTI would not take oath of the assembly, adding that the ‘fraudulent’ election was not acceptable to people of the province.

He said that Chief Election Commissioner was involved in the theft of the people’s mandate and demanded his resignation.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2024

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