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Friday, April 19, 2024  
09 Shawwal 1445  

Newly elected MPAs including Maryam Nawaz take oath in maiden Punjab Assembly session

Election for speaker, deputy speaker will be held on Saturday through secret balloting
PML-N MPAs-elect MArriyum Aurangzeb and Maryam Nawaz take oath as lawmakers during the Punjab Assembly session on February 23, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
PML-N MPAs-elect MArriyum Aurangzeb and Maryam Nawaz take oath as lawmakers during the Punjab Assembly session on February 23, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
A still from the PTV shows newly elected candidates of PML-N protesting in the Punjab Assembly on February 23, 2024. Screengrab
A still from the PTV shows newly elected candidates of PML-N protesting in the Punjab Assembly on February 23, 2024. Screengrab
Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan arrives at the House on February 23, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan arrives at the House on February 23, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
Police outside the Punjab Assembly check people entering the House on February 23, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
Police outside the Punjab Assembly check people entering the House on February 23, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
Policemen on duty outside the Punjab Assembly on February 23, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
Policemen on duty outside the Punjab Assembly on February 23, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
Elected candidates of the PML-N holding placards showing face of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Punjab Assembly on February 23, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
Elected candidates of the PML-N holding placards showing face of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Punjab Assembly on February 23, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News

As many as 313 newly elected representatives – inlcuding 201 of the PML-N and 98 of Sunni Ittehad Council – took oath as members of the provincial assembly during the delayed Punjab Assembly session on Friday. The PA’s maiden session resumed after Friday prayers.

Outgoing Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan after administering oath to the newly elected lawmakers prayed for the newly elected MPAs.

“And I am saying this personally that may God also give you the courage to listen to each other patiently,” Sibtain said as he congratulated all MPAs on assuming their new role and wished them success.

The election for the speaker and the deputy speaker would be held on Saturday (tomorrow) through secret balloting. Nomination papers would be accepted by 5pm today.

Session started late

Speaker Sibtain Khan arrived at the chambers more than two hours after the scheduled time of 10am. Footage from inside the House showed supporters of PML-N holding banners of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

A new assembly speaker would be elected after the swearing-in ceremony of the newly elected representatives while the chief minister would be elected in the next stage.

Maryam Nawaz, the PML-N’s candidate for Punjab chief minister, also arrived with her party leaders.

At the outset of the session, representatives of the Sunni Ittehad Council tried to talk to the speaker. He informed them that he would listen to their concerns after taking oath as lawmakers.

Khan added that it was necessary to hold the swearing-in ceremony.

“Our guests were not allowed to enter the chamber,” SIC leader Rana Aftab said. On this, the speaker asked him to submit a list of his guests to him and they would be allowed to enter after Friday prayers.

Police contingent deployed outside assembly

More than 2,000 policemen were deployed outside the Punjab Assembly session ahead of its session as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has planned to protest against the alleged snatching of seats in the province through massive rigging.

Newly elected lawmakers were seen arriving at the assembly in the early morning and Aaj News bureau chief Saleem Sheikh reported that victorious candidates and those who have a card would be allowed to enter the House.

 A still from the PTV shows newly elected candidates of PML-N sitting with placards in the Punjab Assembly on February 23, 2024.
A still from the PTV shows newly elected candidates of PML-N sitting with placards in the Punjab Assembly on February 23, 2024.

Sheikh said that the session would begin after all the PML-N leaders arrived under the leadership of PML-N’s nominee for the Punjab chief minister position Maryam Nawaz at the chambers.

All the candidates were thoroughly checked by police and unrelated persons were barred from entering the House.

Sources told Aaj News that the assembly speaker was reluctant to hold the session because the quorum was not completed after the Sunni Ittehad Council was not given reserved seats.

Moreover, the state television PTV was allowed to cover the session proceedings.

 A still from the PTV shows PML-N candidate for Punjab chief minister in the provincial assembly on February 23, 2024.
A still from the PTV shows PML-N candidate for Punjab chief minister in the provincial assembly on February 23, 2024.

PTI accuses police of stopping their leaders

Meanwhile, the PTI claimed that the Punjab police were stopping elected members from participating in the assembly’s session and stopped them from taking oath.

“IG Punjab should stop such unlawful activities, and let the elected members take oath,” the party said in a post on X.

PPP nominates Syed Ali Haider Gilani as parliamentary leader

The PPP has nominated Syed Ali Haider Gilani as its parliamentary leader in the assembly. He won the PP-213 seat.

The nomination was made in a letter written by PPP South Punjab President Syed Ahmed Mahmud to the Punjab Assembly speaker.

PTI to protest ‘stolen mandate’

On Thursday, the PTI leadership decided that all party backed winning candidates led by the party’s nominee for Punjab chief minister position, Mian Aslam Iqbal, would attend the Punjab Assembly’s maiden session.

All the PTI-backed candidates who were defeated through “rigging” in the results calculations in Form 47s would stage a protest demonstration in front of the Punjab Assembly, Hammad Azhar, PTI’s general secretary for central Punjab, said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

Party workers and supporters would also join the protest demonstration.

Azhar used the term “PDM gang” to describe their political rivals. “The masses’ situation will improve when people will be allowed to choose their leaders,” he said.

Sources said that many leaders of the PTI had suggested that the chief minister election would get controversial because of the non-participation of the elected candidates. They were of the view that no one would accept the House if a large number of candidates would not take part in the session.

More than 110 candidates of the PTI have joined the Sunni Ittehad Council under the party’s coalition to secure reserved seats in Parliament.

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