PPP nominees clinch speaker, deputy slots in Sindh Assembly

Published February 26, 2024
IN this screengrab, Sindh Assembly Speaker Syed Owais Qadir Shah can be seen greeting Deputy Speaker Anthony Naveed after the latter took oath of office, on Sunday.
IN this screengrab, Sindh Assembly Speaker Syed Owais Qadir Shah can be seen greeting Deputy Speaker Anthony Naveed after the latter took oath of office, on Sunday.

KARACHI: PPP legislators Syed Owais Qadir Shah and Anthony Naveed were elected through a secret ballot as speaker and deputy speaker of the 16th Sindh Assembly on Sunday.

Of the 147 votes cast, Mr Shah and Mr Naveed secured 111 votes each, while the other contestants for the two slots, MQM-P’s Sofia Shah and Advocate Rashid Khan, secured 36 votes each.

The nine PTI-backed independent candidates, three from the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) and one from Jamaat-i-Islami stayed away from the polling.

Addressing the assembly after taking the oath of the office and taking the chair, the newly elected speaker affirmed that he would fulfil his duties without any bias and partiality, promising that every member would be given due time to express their views.

Syed Owais Qadir Shah, Anthony Naveed secure 111 votes each

“Long live democracy,” he said. “This is a constitutional position […] I will move forward with all the members together,” Mr 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 said, hoping that he would meet public expectations. He also thanked the PPP leadership and the people of Sindh for giving the party a “landslide victory” in the province.

Subsequently, the newly elected speaker said that the election of the provincial chief minister would take place today (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,” Mr Shah added.

The PPP has fielded Murad Ali Shah for the Sindh chief minister’s slot, while the MQM-P’s nominee is Ali Khursheedi.

At the outset of the assembly proceedings on Sunday, outgoing Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani announced the panel of chairpersons responsible for running the session without a speaker or deputy speaker. The panel’s members were Sharjeel Inam Memon, Saeed Ghani and Nida Khuhro of the PPP and Ali Khursheedi of the MQM-P.

Later, the outgoing speaker administered the oath to nine PTI-backed independents and a JI member.

Immediately after their oath, PTI-backed member Shabbir Ahmed Qureshi was snubbed by the outgoing speaker when he rose to interrupt the proceedings with rigging allegations. “Go to the Election Commission,” he shouted at the PTI member.

After the election of the new speaker, Owais Qadir Shah, and his subsequent oath to his office, Mr Durrani took his seat in the house.

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

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

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

Speaking on the occasion, MPA Abdul Waseem congratulated the new speaker and hoped the house would be run without bias or partiality.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2024

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