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Friday, April 19, 2024  
09 Shawwal 1445  

Opposition parties end hours-long election rigging protest in Karachi

At least 60 out of the total 148 took oath as MPAs
There was a queue of traffic waiting to turn to the alternate route at Shahrah-e-Faisal in Karachi on February 24, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
There was a queue of traffic waiting to turn to the alternate route at Shahrah-e-Faisal in Karachi on February 24, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
Police detain protesters outside the Sindh Assembly in Karachi before the session on February 24, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
Police detain protesters outside the Sindh Assembly in Karachi before the session on February 24, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
MPAs-elect in the Sindh Assembly session on February 24, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
MPAs-elect in the Sindh Assembly session on February 24, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
Sindh Assembly Speaker during the session proceedings on February 24, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
Sindh Assembly Speaker during the session proceedings on February 24, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
Policemen on duty outside the Sind Assembly as four political parties are scheduled to protest against alleged riggin in elections on February 24, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
Policemen on duty outside the Sind Assembly as four political parties are scheduled to protest against alleged riggin in elections on February 24, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
Police vehicles outside the Sindh Assembly on February 24, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
Police vehicles outside the Sindh Assembly on February 24, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
Members of Grand Democratic Alliance, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam address a press conference in Karachi on February 23, 2024. Screengrab
Members of Grand Democratic Alliance, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam address a press conference in Karachi on February 23, 2024. Screengrab

Protesters began dispersing as the opposition parties ended hours-long protest against the alleged election rigging in Karachi on Saturday.

Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) cleared the Shahrah-e-Faisal as traffic flow returned to normal.

Earlier, police blocked some of the main arteries of Karachi before the Sindh Assembly session as opposition parties protested against the alleged rigging in elections.

Due to the blockade, heavy traffic was seen at the alternate routes while the track connecting Karachi and Hyderabad was also blocked by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam in protest against alleged rigging in elections.

A video from by the Karachi police on X, formerly called Twitter, showed a queue of traffic on one side of Shahrah-e-Faisal that connects to the PIDC and the Sindh Assembly.

The provincial government has banned gatherings of more than five people under Section 144 of the CrPC. The decision was taken after opposition parties, which claim elections were not transparent, called for protests ahead of the session.

The proceedings of the maiden Sindh Assembly session in Karachi began more than 40 minutes behind schedule because lawmakers were late to arrive on Saturday amid JUI-F, GDA, PTI, and JI protests outside the chamber against alleged election rigging.

Police detained several protesters, including women, outside the assembly amid a ban on the gathering of more than five people in the city.

As many as four political parties announced on Friday that they will greet the assembly’s maiden session. The announcement was made in a joint press conference by representatives of the Grand Democratic Alliance, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam.

 Screengrab via Aaj News
Screengrab via Aaj News

148 lawmakers take oath

As many as 148 newly elected representatives including the chief minister-in-waiting Murad Ali Shah took oath as MPAs in the maiden session. Around 60 MPAs were sworn in as lawmakers for the first time.

At the outset of the proceedings, PPP leader Agha Siraj Durrani administered the oath of office to the newly elected representatives. He also took oath as a lawmaker and thanked his party for bestowing him with the opportunity.

Around 13 members of the opposition did not participate in the ceremony as they protested against the alleged rigging in the election. The Election Commission of Pakistan has so far issued the notification for 163 lawmakers.

The session was adjourned till 11am Sunday.

Over 30 protesters detained

Prior to the session, police stopped supporters of the GDA and allied parties from gathering outside the Sindh Assembly.

More than 30 protesters, including women, were detained by police for entering into the Red Zone.

Party position

PPP secured the maximum number of provincial assembly seats, according to the results by the Election Commission of Pakistan. The Bhutto-led party has secured as many as 84 seats while the number of seats occupied by the MQM-P was 28.

The GDA has three and the JI two whereas the Election Commission of Pakistan has so far not issued the notification of nine independent candidates who joined the Sunni Ittehad Council after the elections.

 The table shows the party position in the Sindh Assembly before the allotment of reserved seats. Source: Election Commission of Pakistan
The table shows the party position in the Sindh Assembly before the allotment of reserved seats. Source: Election Commission of Pakistan

It merits here to mention that Murad Ali Shah would become the Sindh chief minister “for the third time.” PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari announced on Friday that Awais Shah was the party’s candidate for the provincial assembly speaker and minority candidate Anthony Naveed would be the provincial assembly deputy speaker.

Moreover, MQM-P has nominated Sofia Shah for the post of speaker and Rashid Khan for the post of deputy speaker.

Roads blocked

The Sindh administration blocked the roads leading to the assembly in view of the protest call by four political parties against alleged rigging in elections. A police contingent was deployed in the Red Zone.

Leaders of GDA stated on Friday that they would block the roads surrounding the assembly and block the session proceedings.

Police have blocked the road at the Nursery in the Shahrah-e-Faisal area that leads to the assembly, leading to traffic jams.

They have also deployed a contingent at the FTC which is diverting the traffic to the Korangi Road.

Meanwhile, workers of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl were protesting at Karachi’s Toll Plaza. JUI-F Sindh Secretary General Allama Rashid Mahmood Soomro is leading the protest, saying that the party workers want to stage a protest outside the provincial assembly.

The protest has disrupted traffic flow at the Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway.

‘Protest will continue until demands are met’

The protesting political parties have also announced that they will not take oath as members of the assembly. The protest will continue as long as the mandate of the people is not accepted, they added.

The protest has to be organised because the mandate of 60 million people “was stolen in Sindh”, GDA leader Safdar Abbasi said.

JI’s Hafiz Naeemur Rehman described the MQM-P as a “rejected” party and accused it of stealing the votes of PTI and JI.

Also, read this

PTI announces alliance with Sunni Ittehad Council

PPP turns down PMLN offer of ministries in Punjab

Zardari to be candidate for president, announces Bilawal

Ban on protests

In a statement, caretaker Sindh Interior Minister Brig (retd) Haris Nawaz said that a ban on public gatherings was imposed in Karachi under Section 144 of the CrPC.

He added that security measures have been taken inside and outside the assembly. Strict action will be taken against those who show any kind of mischief and illegality, Nawaz stated.

The minister called for ensuring cooperation with the people, police and other law enforcement agencies in establishing law and order.

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pti

MQMP

Jamaat e Islami

JUIF

general elections

GDA

Sindh Assembly

election 2024

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