Newly elected Punjab Assembly members take oath; Maryam Nawaz enters parliamentary politics

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Newly elected Punjab Assembly members take oath; Maryam Nawaz enters parliamentary politics

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: Outgoing Speaker Sibtain Khan administered oath to the newly-elected members of the Punjab Assembly on Friday.

The PA session, presided over by Sibtain, began after a delay of more than two hours on Friday.

The secretary of the assembly said that the speaker and deputy speaker will be elected tomorrow (Saturday) through secret balloting. “Nomination papers for speaker and deputy speaker will be collected and scrutinised today,” he added.

Punjab Assembly Oath taking
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This was the maiden provincial assembly session after the February 8 general elections, wherein the newly-elected members have sworn-in.

The session was attended by 313 lawmakers out of which 215 belonged to the PML-N and its allied parties while 98 members of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) also took oath.

At the outset of the delayed session, members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidates and SIC chanted slogans against each other and exchanged hot words.

PTI-backed candidate Imtiaz Sheikh reached the assembly hiding in a vehicle with black-tinted glasses. He laid low in the vehicle’s rear seat.

Members not being allowed to enter: SIC
During the session, the SIC said their members were not being allowed to enter the assembly.

SIC members tried talking to the assembly speaker, however, they were told that they would be heard once they took an oath.

“The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has not yet [issued a list] of reserved seats,” said Speaker Sibtain.

PML-N leader Azma Bokhari said that none of the members can speak unless they take an oath.

“The decision on some reserved seats is still not taken due to their ineligibility. We currently have a two-third majority after forming an alliance,” she said.

Bokhari said that her party respects the decision and wants to work with them.

“Sindh Assembly session is convened tomorrow and National Assembly session will also be called in a couple of days,” she said.

The Punjab Assembly is the first house to convene its opening session, out of five assemblies that went to the elections.

Earlier, PA members of different parties, including PML-N Senior Vice President and CM nominee Maryam Nawaz, arrived at the assembly.

Talking to media persons outside the Punjab Assembly, Speaker Muhammad Sibtain Khan said the elected MPAs should not be prevented from attending the assembly session.

He admitted that some members got a level playing field while others were deprived of it.

To a query, he said he came too early as sessions had been delayed in the past up to six hours.

The speaker also said the election for the provincial assembly’s speaker and deputy speaker would be held on Saturday (tomorrow).

The PTI on its Twitter handle alleged that police were stopping its elected members from taking oath. Sharing a video, it also alleged they were standing outside the assembly to arrest the PTI’s CM candidate Aslam Iqbal.

Talking to media outside the provincial assembly, PTI’s Farrukh Javed spoke about his party’s chief minister candidate Mian Aslam Iqbal, stating that he had taken bail and was coming to take oath as the chief minister. The politician confirmed that those who were “forcibly defeated” will hold a demonstration during the session.

Punjab Governor Muhammad Balighur Rehman had formally issued a notification convening for the assembly meeting.

After the induction of independent MPA-elects in the party, PML-N has become the largest party in the Punjab Assembly which has announced to form the government in the province with Maryam as its head, The News reported.