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February 28, 2018

KP Assembly: Shoe attack on murder suspect MPA-elect

Top Story

February 28, 2018

PESHAWAR: Member Provincial Assembly (MPA)-elect Baldev Kumar could not take oath as member after the treasury and opposition in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly joined hands to block his oath-taking on Tuesday.

Both the treasury and opposition staged a walkout from the House, breaking the quorum. A PTI member Arbab Jahandad hurled a shoe at Baldev Kumar. Another member Zahid Durrani threw the agenda copy towards him to express his anger.

The members from both sides expressed anguish and anger by shouting at the MPA-elect before the security staff could take him out of the House and hand him over to the jail staff at the assembly gate.

The MPA-elect was produced in the assembly on Tuesday after Speaker Asad Qaiser issued directives for his production in line with the orders of Peshawar High Court (PHC). Earlier, his production order was issued for Monday but the speaker cancelled it and issued fresh production order for Tuesday.

Baldev Kumar was declared MPA on a minority seat after the murder of former adviser to chief minister Soran Singh, who was elected MPA on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) ticket. Since Baldev Kumar was second on the list of candidates, he was declared elected on the seat that fell vacant due to Soran Singh's assassination.

However, Baldev Kumar was charged with Soran Singh's murder and sent behind bars before he could attend any session of the assembly. Just after recitation from the Holy Quran, Mehmood Khan Bhittani of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) on a point of order raised the issue of Baldev Kumar's production in the assembly. He said it was ironic that an accused in the murder of an honourable member of the House, Soran Singh, was brought for oath-taking to secure his vote for the Senate election.

Opposition leader Maulana Lutfur Rahman also expressed concern and said the government's role was compromising as it wanted to get Baldev Kumar's vote for the Senate election.

"Why the government didn't challenge the PHC verdict in the Supreme Court," he asked. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) parliamentary leader Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha also termed it a move to secure his vote for the Senate poll. He reminded the speaker of his ruling not to allow entry of an accused killer in the House.

Mufti Fazal Ghafoor of the JUI-F said that taking oath from an accused in a murder case would be a great injustice. He said he should be administered oath if the court cleared him of charges.

Speaker Asad Qaiser read out the PHC's order when Minister for Public Health Engineering Shah Farman said Baldev Kumar's production was not the result of government policy or compromise, rather it was obeying court order. Shah Farman said the opposition's protest was genuine but treasury benches were also not in favour of the accused MPA-elect. He said exercising its right the treasury would join the opposition's walkout to break the quorum and block the oath-taking of an alleged killer. After all the members walked out from the House, the speaker adjourned the session till March 2.

Later, talking to media, ministers Shah Farman and Mushtaq Ghani said Baldev Kumar's dream of taking oath as MPA would never come true. They said Baldev Kumar was accused of murdering their colleague. They said that allowing him to become member of this august House would set a precedent for future. They also hinted at legislation to block the way for such persons.

Arbab Jahandad said he hurled a shoe at Baldev Kumar to express his hate for him. He said that Baldev Kumar was the 'murderer' of Soran Singh, who was a committed PTI worker, so how could he be welcomed in the House.

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