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April 9, 2008

Punjab Assembly session today


April 9, 2008


THE recently renovated Punjab Assembly is all set to house its 14th session, since 1947, today (Wednesday) at 11 am.

About 353 parliamentarians including 268 male, 75 female and 10 minority members including one-woman member, will take oath from the outgoing PA speaker.

Out of the 75 women members, 66 have been elected on reserved seats while nine returned after contesting on general seats.

There are total 372 seats in the Punjab Assembly and the remaining 16 parliamentarians will join later, after the bye-polls. Ten of the are empty as candidates who were elected to them were also elected on the National Assembly seats and opted to retain the National Assembly seats.

In five constituencies, the election was delayed due to the death of one of the contestants, while result of one seat was withheld due to a stay order issued by High Court.

Wednesday’s session of Punjab Assembly is remarkable in a sense that majority of the seasoned politicians, who were holding key positions in the previous assembly, will not in the limelight for the next five years.

They either have lost elections or have preferred to join the National Assembly. The Speaker of the Punjab Assembly, Chaudhry Afzal Sahi, has lost elections and will preside Wednesday’s session for the last time. Former Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and a large number of key ministers have all lost the elections.

Similarly, former Leader of the Opposition Qasim Zia has also lost his seat, while the elections were postponed on the seat of Deputy Opposition Leader Rana Sanaullah.

The assembly will consist of a large majority of new faces since only 80 members out of the total 353 have become members more than once.

Out of the nine women elected on general seats, six belong to PML-N, one to PPP, one to PML-Q and one is an independent MPA.

Their names are Mrs Umer Farooq of PML-N (PP-8), Mrs Iffar Liaquat Ali Khan of

PML-N (PP-20), Shahzadi Umerzadi Tiwana of PML-N (PP-38), Neelam Jabbar Chaudhry of PPP (PP-86), Nazia Raheel of PML-N(PP-88), Shazia Ashfaq Matto of PM-N (PP-95), Samina Waseem Butt of PML-N (PP-135), Robina Shaheen Wattoo, Independent (PP-188) and Naghma Mushtaq of PML-Q (PP-206).

The parliamentarians who have reached the provincial assembly for the third time or more include Saeed Akbar Niwani, Amir Sultan Cheema, Ahmed Ali Aulkah, Rana Muhammad Iqbal, Nazim Hussain Shah, Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor, Amir Hayat Rokahri, Malik Jawed Iqbal Awan, Sardar Shaukat Mazari, Sardar Dildar Cheema, Raja Riaz, Ata Manika, Wilayat Shah Khagga and Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood.

The parliamentarians who have also served as both MNAs and MPAs in the past include Ata Muhammad Manika, Dildar Cheema, Sana Ullah Mastikhel and Amir Hayat Rokhari.

Seventeen candidates who reached the Punjab Assembly for the first time belong to Lahore; it is the largest number ever. They will take oath today too.

The women parliamentarians who have won general elections and reached the Punjab assembly for the first time include Mrs Umer Farooq, Iffat Liaquat Ali Khan, Shahzadi Umerzadi Tiwana, Neelam Jabbar Chaudhry, Nazia Raheel, Shazia Ashfaq Mattu, Samina Wasim Butt, Robina Shaheen Wattoo Naghma Mushtaq Lang. Shehzadi Umerzadi Tiwana and Rubina Shaheen Wattoo served as MNAs in the previous tenure.

Former Chief Minister Punjab Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi has taken oath in the National Assembly and his son Chaudhry Moonis Elahi has reached the Punjab Assembly for the first time.

Several former provincial ministers including Raja Basharat, Chaudhry Iqbal, Qasim Noon, Rana Shamshad and Akhter Hussain Rizvi have lost the elections.

It is worth mentioning that the previous assembly made record legislation during its five-year tenure. The assembly passed record 83 bills while nine are still in pipeline. It is worth mentioning too that during the tenure of Mian Shahbaz Sharif, the provincial assembly approved 24 bills with the same Law Minister Raja Muhammad Basharat.

The current provincial assembly was built in 1935. It was designed by Mr Bazel M Salune, Superintending Architect, Architecture circle, Punjab. Its foundation stone was laid down by Sir Jogindar Singh, Minister for Agriculture, in November 1935.

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