Ruckus in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly as MPAs-elect take oath

Ruckus in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly as MPAs-elect take oath

ISLAMABAD, FEB 28: In a session marred by ruckus, around 115 newly elected representatives of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly were sworn in on Wednesday.

The provincial legislature meeting was summoned by KP Governor Ghulam Ali last week following advice from the caretaker Chief Minister Syed Arshad Hussain Shah. The KP Assembly is the third provincial assembly have its members take oath after the February 8 general elections.

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

Today’s session was scheduled to begin at 11am. However, it 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).

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 He added that nomination papers could be submitted by 5pm today and the papers could be withdrawn by 11pm.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.

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.

Ahead of the session, a huge number of PTI supporters barged into the KP Assembly and gathered in the gallery. They chanted slogans of “Qaidi #804 [prisoner number 804]” and “Long Live Imran Khan”.

At one point, PML-N MPA Sobia Shahid raised a watch in the house — an apparent reference to the Toshakhana reference in which the 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, 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.

“The people of KP always remove the government that they are unhappy with […] but it is only Imran Khan who managed to make a hat-trick,” he said, adding that the PTI founder “attained a clean sweep in the province”.

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