PPP secures speaker, deputy speaker slots in Sindh Assembly

Published February 25, 2024
PPP’s Owais Qadir Shah (L) and Anthony Naveed (R) take the oath as newly-elected speaker and deputy speaker of the Sindh Assembly on Sunday. — DawnNewsTV
PPP’s Owais Qadir Shah (L) and Anthony Naveed (R) take the oath as newly-elected speaker and deputy speaker of the Sindh Assembly on Sunday. — DawnNewsTV

Members of the Sindh Assembly through a secret ballot on Sunday elected PPP’s Owais Qadir Shah and Anthony Naveed as speaker and deputy speaker, respectively.

Out of a total of 147 votes cast on Sunday, Shah secured 111 votes while MQM-P’s Sofia Shah clinched 36. Meanwhile, Naveed also secured 111 votes while MQM-P’s Advocate Rashid Khan won 36.

The development comes a day after as many as 147 legislators-elect of the PPP and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) were sworn in as members of the 16th provincial assembly.

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

Today’s session, which was scheduled to begin at 11am, began with a delay of 18 minutes with outgoing speaker Durrani in the chair. Following the recitation of the Holy Quran, the nine PTI-backed MPAs-elect — who had not taken their oath on Saturday — were sworn in.

Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) leader Muhammad Farooq was also sworn in alongside the PTI-backed independents. Meanwhile, JI Karachi chief Haafiz Naeemur Rehman did not attend today’s session.

As the polling process for electing the speaker commenced, PTI-backed MPAs chanted slogans against alleged poll rigging and refused to participate in the voting. PTI-backed Bilal Khan Jatoi called the process a “fraudulent election”.

The lawmakers also shouted “lota lota” (turncoats) when Ijaz Swati was called to cast his vote. It must be noted that Swati, who contested and won the elections as a PTI-backed independent, had switched sides and joined the PPP.

After being announced as the winner for the election of the speaker, slogans of ‘long live Bhutto’ reverberated in the hall as Shah walked up to the dais and took his oath of office in Sindhi.

In his remarks, Shah affirmed that he would fulfil his duties without any bias, promising that every single person in the House would be given due time to express their views.

“Long live democracy,” he said. “This is a constitutional position […] I will move forward with all the members together,” Shah said, urging all the lawmakers to “begin a fresh start”.

“My only request is that if we follow the rule book, then God willing this House will function in the best way possible,” he added, expressing the hope that the it would meet the expectations of the public. He also thanked the PPP leadership and the people of Sindh for giving his party a “landslide victory” in the province.

Subsequently, the newly elected speaker said that the election of the provincial chief minister would take place tomorrow (Monday) at 2pm.

“A candidate may withdraw his candidature at any time before the commencement of the election by submitting an application in writing under his hand to the speaker,” Shah added.

It should be noted that the PPP has fielded Murad Ali Shah for Sindh chief minister while the MQM-P’s nominee is Ali Khursheedi.

Shortly after, the election for the deputy speaker was held, which saw PPP’s Naveed emerging victorious. Naveed, who was felicitated by members of the House on his win, took his oath of office in Urdu and then proceeded to embrace and shake hands with Shah as pro-Bhutto slogans again rang out in the hall.

Once the elections were wrapped, PPP’s Murad Ali Shah congratulated the new speaker and deputy speaker. At the same time, he also sang the praises of Durrani, saying that he had served as speaker for 10 years.

He noted that despite being arrested and put in jail, Durrani continued to fulfil his responsibilities. “Nowhere else will you find this. Only PPP and its members can do this,” Murad said.

Murad also pointed out that Durrani had the “unique distinction” of being speaker of the house just like his father.

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