Thursday April 18, 2024

Newly-elected members of Punjab Assembly sworn-in

Outgoing PA Speaker Sibtain Khan administered oath to Maryam Nawaz, other members

By Web Desk
February 23, 2024

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: The newly-elected members of the Punjab Assembly, who clinched victory in the February 8 elections, took oath on Friday in the maiden session.

The Punjab Assembly is the first house to convene its inaugural session, out of five assemblies that went to the elections on February 8. The session was scheduled to start at 10am, however, it faced a delay of more than two hours.

The session was attended by 313 lawmakers out of which 215 belonged to the PML-N and its allied parties while 98 members of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) also took oath.

The secretary of the assembly said that the speaker and deputy speaker will be elected tomorrow (Saturday) via secret ballot. "Nomination papers for speaker and deputy speaker will be collected till 5pm and scrutinised today," he added. 

At the outset of the delayed session, members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and SIC candidates chanted slogans against each other.

Scores of newly-elected members arrived at the assembly including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senior Vice President and CM nominee Maryam Nawaz.

Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan presided over the session. 

Talking to media persons outside the Punjab Assembly earlier, Speaker Muhammad Sibtain Khan said the elected MPAs should not be prevented from attending the assembly session.

He admitted that some members got a level playing field while others were deprived of it.

To a query, he said he came too early as sessions had been delayed in the past up to six hours.

The speaker also said the election for the provincial assembly’s speaker and deputy speaker would be held on Saturday (tomorrow).

Members not being allowed to enter: SIC

During the session, members of PML-N and SIC exchanged barbs with the latter saying that their members were not being allowed to enter the assembly. 

The SIC has around 97 members inside the assembly while PML-N has 215 members. 

SIC members tried talking to the assembly speaker, however, they were told that they would be heard once they took an oath. 

"The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has not yet [issued a list] of reserved seats," said Speaker Sibtain.

PML-N leader Uzma Bokhari said that none of the members can speak unless they take an oath. 

"The decision on some reserved seats is still not taken due to their ineligibility. We currently have a two-thirds majority after forming an alliance," she said. 

Bokhari said that her party respects the decision and wants to work with them. 

"Sindh Assembly session is convened tomorrow and National Assembly session will also be called in a couple of days," she said.

Punjab police stopping members from entering assembly: PTI

On the other hand, PTI has claimed that the Punjab police was stopping its elected members from participating in the session and from taking the oath. 

"All these police officers are standing here so they can attempt arrest on our CM candidate Mian Aslam Iqbal," it claimed. 

Speaking to media persons outside PA, PML-N leader Ishaq Dar said if the PTI founder has written anything against the country's interest then it is condemnable. 

"The letter by the PTI founder has no importance," he said. 

Dar said that the decision on the finance minister candidate will be made by the party.