MPAs-elect from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan take oath

Published February 28, 2024
Ali Amin Gandapur is pictured in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV
Ali Amin Gandapur is pictured in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV

Newly elected members of the Khyber Pakh­tunkhwa and Balochistan assemblies were sworn in on Wednesday.

In KP, around 115 newly elected representatives took oath in a session marred by ruckus. The meeting of the provincial legislature was summoned by KP Governor Ghulam Ali last week following advice from the caretaker Chief Minister Syed Arshad Hussain Shah.

It should be mentioned that the previous assembly was dissolved in January 2023 and KP had been functioning in the absence of the provincial legislature for more than 13 months.

Today’s session was scheduled to begin at 11am but was delayed by over an hour due to protests and riots by PTI workers present in the gallery and party-backed lawmakers — now members of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) — who slogans of “Qaidi #804 [prisoner number 804]” and “Long Live Imran Khan”.

The session finally began a little after 1pm with outgoing KP Assembly Speaker Mushtaq Ghani in the chair. At the outset, he prayed for the high ranks of martyrs who had sacrificed their lives to defend the country.

Subsequently, he administered the oath to the MPAs-elect in Urdu and congratulated them. The members who were sworn in included 87 PTI-backed SIC lawmakers, nine members from JUI-F, eight from PML-N, five from PPP, two from PTI-Parliamentarians and four independents.

PTI’s nominee for KP chief minister, Ali Amin Gandapur, was among the several MPAs who were sworn in during the session. He entered the assembly with a PTI flag draped across his shoulders and carried a framed photo of imprisoned PTI founder Imran Khan.

In an announcement following the oath, Ghani said voting for the election of the speaker and deputy speaker would be held at 10am tomorrow (February 29). He added that nomination papers could be submitted by 5pm today and the papers could be withdrawn by 11pm.

After the announcements, the newly elected MPAs signed the register roll in alphabetical order as the house reverberated with slogans chanted by PTI supporters.

During the session, PML-N MPA Sobia Shahid raised a watch in the house — an apparent reference to the Toshakhana reference in which Imran is convicted. As she waved the watch, a water bottle and a lota were thrown at her.

Some of the PTI-backed lawmakers also made their way in front of the speaker’s dais and waved placards with pro-Imran slogans inscribed on them. They also held framed photos of the former prime minister.

Separately, PTI’s Omer Ayub Khan said that Imran had nominated Babar Salim Swati as the party’s candidate for KP Assembly speaker. Swati is the PTI’s divisional president in Hazara and is the MPA from PK-37.

In a media talk outside the KP Assembly, PTI Senator Faisal Javed thanked the public for voting for Imran in huge numbers and for giving him a “hat-trick” in the province.

Javed also promised that the PTI would immediately restore the health card in the province after assuming power.

Balochistan Assembly

The session of the Balochistan Assembly, summoned by Governor Malik Abdul Wali Khan Kakar, commenced at 3pm. Ahead of the meeting, special security arrangements in and around the assembly building were made.

The session was chaired by a senior member of the assembly, Zamrak Khan Achakzai, after outgoing speaker Mir Jan Muhammad Khan Jamali excused himself over health concerns and other engagements.

Around 57 newly elected lawmakers of the Balochistan Assembly were sworn in today.

Meanwhile, former federal minister Sarfraz Bugti, ex-Balochistan chief minister Jam Kamal Khan and Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani remained absent from the session as they were not in Quetta.

Following the oath, Achakzai announced that the election of the Balochistan Assembly speaker and deputy speaker will be held tomorrow at 3pm through a secret ballot. He added that nomination papers for the slot can be filed by Thursday noon.

The PPP has nominated MPA Ghazala Gola as the Balochistan Assembly deputy speaker.

Ahead of the meeting of the provincial legislature today, supporters of the four-party alliance — comprising Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, Balochistan National Party-Mengal, National Party and Hazara Democratic Party — gathered in front of the Quetta Metropolitan Corporation against alleged rigging in the February 8 elections.

The protesters later marched towards the Balochistan Assembly but were stopped after the police cordoned off the GPO Chowk with containers.

A day earlier, assembly officials decided not to allow guests in the first session of the provincial legislature due to security reasons on Feb 28.

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