KARACHI: Newly elected members take oath during the first session of the Sindh Assembly, on Saturday.—PPI
KARACHI: Newly elected members take oath during the first session of the Sindh Assembly, on Saturday.—PPI

• PTI, GDA, JI boycott proceedings, stage demonstrations
• Cops block access routes to prevent protests near assembly building
• House to reconvene today to elect speaker, deputy speaker
• PPP member engaged in car race skips oath-taking

KARACHI: As many as 147 legislators-elect of the PPP and MQM-P were sworn in as members of the 16th Sindh Assembly on Saturday in a calm and quiet atmosphere, as the event proceeded smoothly inside the assembly amid the absence of opposition parties, which boycotted the session to protest the Feb 8 election results.

However, while the proceedings inside the 168-member house went smoothly, the situation outside remained highly tense, with dozens of police officers cordoning off access routes to prevent protest activities near the assembly building. The street leading to the assembly was filled with hundreds of police officers wearing anti-riot gear.

The outgoing Sindh Assembly speaker, Agha Siraj Durrani, administered the oath to 111 PPP members and 36 from the MQM-P.

Notably absent were nine PTI-backed independent candidates, three from the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) and two from Jamaat-i-Islami, all protesting the election outcome.

Additionally, three PPP members, including two senators and Nadir Magsi — who was busy in a car race — did not take the oath.

The ceremony began with Mr Durrani taking his own oath, followed by the swearing-in of members in three languages: Sindhi, Urdu and English.

The session was momentarily disrupted by PPP supporters’ chants from the visitors’ gallery, prompting Mr Durrani to demand order and warn that he would make the shouters leave the gallery.

Following the ceremony, Mr Durrani adjourned the assembly until 11am the next day for the election of the speaker and deputy speaker through secret ballot.

The Sindh Assembly now includes 61 first-time members, including 24 from the MQM-P, while nine independent members supported by the PTI will also be part of the assembly for the first time.

Among the veterans, three PPP members — Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Nisar Khuhro and Nadir Magsi — have been elected for the eighth time, with Mr Durrani securing his seventh term. Besides, 13 PPP members have been elected for the fourth time, 21 for the third time and 52 for the second time.

Advice to protesters

Earlier, while talking to the media on the assembly premises, Mr Durrani took exception to the protesting parties and remarked that legal avenues were available for contesting the election results.

Syed Murad Ali Shah, PPP’s nominee for chief minister, also criticised the protesters and said the country faced challenges and rival parties should show sanity.

PPP’s candidate for the speaker’s slot, Owais Qadir Shah, said every problem could be solved by working together.

Nisar Khuhro, PPP’s Sindh president, told the media that the GDA, JUI-F, PTI and Jamaat-i-Islami should not waste their time by staging sit-ins and should wait for the next elections. “The politics of sit-ins has harmed the country,” he stressed.

He said those levelling rigging allegations should present evidence before courts. He said those unhappy with the PPP mandate were actually unhappy with the people, adding, “The sit-ins and protests of the anti-PPP parties are unjustified. Politics and chaos of sit-ins will weaken the country and politics.”

Speaker’s election

The nomination papers for speaker and deputy speaker candidates of PPP and MQM-P were declared valid by the outgoing speaker after the scrutiny late in the evening.

PPP has fielded Owais Shah and Anthony Naveed as candidates for speaker and deputy speaker, respectively, while the MQM-P has fielded Advocate Sofia Shah and Advocate Rashid Khan.

The assembly is set to reconvene at 11am today (Sunday) for the speaker and deputy speaker election.

Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Energy inflation
Updated 23 May, 2024

Energy inflation

The widening gap between the haves and have-nots is already tearing apart Pakistan’s social fabric.
Culture of violence
23 May, 2024

Culture of violence

WHILE political differences are part of the democratic process, there can be no justification for such disagreements...
Flooding threats
23 May, 2024

Flooding threats

WITH temperatures in GB and KP forecasted to be four to six degrees higher than normal this week, the threat of...
Bulldozed bill
Updated 22 May, 2024

Bulldozed bill

Where once the party was championing the people and their voices, it is now devising new means to silence them.
Out of the abyss
22 May, 2024

Out of the abyss

ENFORCED disappearances remain a persistent blight on fundamental human rights in the country. Recent exchanges...
Holding Israel accountable
22 May, 2024

Holding Israel accountable

ALTHOUGH the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor wants arrest warrants to be issued for Israel’s prime...