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Friday April 19, 2024

PTI plans to hold maiden KP Assembly session on 28th

By Mushtaq Yusufzai
February 23, 2024

PESHAWAR: The newly-elected independent members of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, affiliated with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), have started lobbying for getting berths in the provincial cabinet as the leadership has planned to call the maiden session of the assembly on February 28.

“Our senior lawyers are constantly engaged and discussing some legal issues and we are planning to convene the assembly session on February 28,” speaker-designate Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, Aqibullah Khan, told The News.

He said the PTI had emerged as the leading party in recent elections in the province and would form a government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The PTI’s independent candidates had won 97 seats and two other MPAs-elect later joined the party, raising the number of seats in the provincial assembly to 99, he added.

There were reports that Governor Ghulam Ali had gone on leave, and it could delay the assembly session.

And that had created an impression as if the governor may have planned to avoid calling the assembly session.

However, PTI senior leader Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif didn’t believe that Governor Ghulam Ali’s leave would have any impact on the assembly session.

“I don’t think the governor would have gone on leave to skip calling the assembly session as it’s a legal obligation and there are other legal ways to convene a session of the legislative body,” Barrister Saif argued.

Meanwhile, the newly-elected independent MPAs started meeting with the chief minister-designate Ali Amin Gandapur and many of them are seeking his assistance to get a berth in the cabinet.

“Every MPA wanted to be accommodated in the cabinet, which is not possible. They are using multiple connections and expect to become ministers,” a senior PTI leader told The News.

Pleading anonymity, he said a committee comprising senior PTI leaders had been constituted to discuss and recommend some MPAs-elect for the cabinet slots.

PTI founding chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan had so far announced Ali Amin Gandapur as KP chief minister and Aqibullah Khan as provincial assembly speaker.

Aqibullah Khan belongs to Swabi and is the younger brother of veteran PTI leader and former speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser.

Muhammad Ali Saif confirmed that consultations within the party were underway to choose members for the provincial cabinet.

“The committee will recommend names for the cabinet but a final approval will come from the PTI founding chairman Imran Khan. All the names and their backgrounds will be shared with him and he has the authority to approve or disapprove,” said the PTI leader.

He added that it had been decided to work with Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) and their party’s elected representatives had already joined it.

Asked if they would get their reserved seats after joining the SIC when the party didn’t have its representatives in the assembly, Barrister Saif said it was one of the legal issues but they had already challenged it in the Peshawar High Court.

As per rules, he said, a political party was required to apply for reserved seats before the election.

He said they had already submitted applications for the reserved seats with the Election Commission of Pakistan.

 

“The joining of Sunni Ittehad Council will provide us a cover and we will have a defection clause to use against the party elected representatives in case they defected,” he added.

Sahibzada Hamid Raza was elected with PTI support as the party didn’t field its candidate against him.

Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif said that one major reason that they couldn’t call the assembly session was that the Election Commission of Pakistan had not notified the results of all the assembly seats.