PPP’s Awais Qadir Shah elected as Sindh Assembly speaker, Anthony Naveed deputy speaker

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PPP's Awais Qadir Shah

KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) MPA Awais Qadir Shah was sworn in as the speaker of the Sindh Assembly on Sunday while Anthony Naveed became the deputy speaker of the provincial assembly after a majority of the lawmakers voted for them.

Qadir Shah won the post after securing 111 votes while his opponent, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s (MQM-P) Sofia Saeed, could only bag 36 votes.

Following his election, new Speaker Qadir Shah was administered an oath by outgoing speaker Agha Siraj Durrani.

Meanwhile, Naveed secured 111 votes against MQM-P’s Rashid Khan, who could only manage to get 36 votes. Naveed was then sworn in as the deputy speaker in an oath-taking administered by Qadir Shah.

Today’s session began with a brief delay after which some members of the provincial assembly took oath.

However, members of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) boycotted the election of a new speaker and deputy by abstaining from casting their votes.

Ahead of the voting for the speaker, outgoing speaker Durrani briefed the members about the polling process.

Assembly to function in best way possible: Qadir Shah
Following his win, Shah thanked PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Faryal Talpur for their support.

“It is an honour to be elected as the assembly’s speaker from Sukkur for the first time,” he said.

He urged the lawmakers to forget the past and begin a new era, assuring to treat all the members equally.

“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. He also expressed hope that the house would meet the expectations of the public.

Durrani urged MPA-elects to ‘protect’ House
Before handing over the charge to Qadir Shah, Durrani congratulated the new custodian and deputy custodian of the House and thanked PPP leaders Faryal Talpur and Azra Fazal Pechuhu for their support.

He then urged all the newly elected MPAs to protect the House.

Meanwhile, PPP’s nominee for chief minister, Murad Ali Shah, said expressed satisfaction over the smooth conduct of the polls for speaker and deputy speaker and congratulated the new elects.

He then lauded Durrani for serving the post for 10 years straight. He also advised Qadir Shah and Naveed to learn from Durrani and former deputy speaker Rehana Leghari.

The Sindh Assembly session was then adjourned till 2pm on Monday.

9 SIC, 1 JI member take oath
At the outset of today’s session, about nine members of the SIC and Jamat-e-Islami’s (JI) Muhammad Farooq, who did not attend the oath-taking ceremony yesterday, took an oath as new MPAs.

Shabbir Qureshi, Mohammad Owais, Bilal Jadoon, Sajjad Soomro, Rehan Akram, Wajid Hussain, Sarbuland Khan and Sajid Hussain of the SIC took the oath.

A day earlier, at least 148 newly-elected Sindh Assembly members took oath in the House of 168 amid protests by several political parties outside the legislative against the alleged rigging in the February 8 polls.

The Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), JI, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Muhajir Qaumi Movement (MQM-Haqiqi), had announced to hold a joint “peaceful” protest outside the assembly.

However, the situation turned tense before the swearing-in ceremony, as several workers, including women, clashed with the police party present there to keep the order.

Over 20 Qaumi Awami Tehreek workers, including women, were arrested and shifted to the police station during the clashes. The law enforcement officials also baton-charged the protestors.

The protests continued for hours and were called off after the police baton-charged and detained at least 30 protesters from near the Arts Council for staging a demonstration and raising slogans in the Red Zone area amid the imposition of Section-144.