Punjab Assembly meets today for MPAs’ oath-taking

Our Correspondents & PPI & News Desk
Friday, Feb 23, 2024

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: The Punjab Assembly is all set to meet today (Friday) for its inaugural session following the general elections held on February 8. Also, the newly-elected independent members of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly, affiliated with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), have started lobbying for berths in the provincial cabinet as the leadership has planned to call the maiden session of the assembly on February 28. At the same time, the PMLN and PPP on Thursday resolved to address Balochistan’s issues together.

Punjab Governor Muhammad Balighur Rehman has formally issued a notification calling for the assembly meeting. The Punjab Assembly session will commence at 10am for the swearing-in ceremony of the newly-elected members.

Speaker Punjab Assembly Sabatin Khan will administer the oath to the elected representatives marking their official induction into the legislative body.

Meanwhile, the schedule for the election of new speaker and deputy speaker of the house will also be released. After the induction of independent MPA-elects in the party, PMLN has become the largest party in the Punjab Assembly which has announced to form the government in the province as Maryam Nawaz its head.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leadership Thursday decided that Punjab chief ministerial candidate Mian Aslam Iqbal of the party, along with all newly-elected members of Punjab Assembly, will attend the assembly session today (Friday).

According to the party’s Central Media Department, the candidates, who lost their seats as a result of the ‘robbery of the mandate’, have been directed to protest outside the Punjab Assembly on the occasion of the session today.

The senior party leadership charged that in Punjab, very shameful and absurd tactics are being used to keep Mian Aslam Iqbal out of the process of chief minister’s election. “Cowardly attempts are being made to clear the ground through the state machinery for Maryam Nawaz, a fascist-minded criminal who has been included in the race for the chief minister’s post by openly robbing the people’s mandate,” they claimed.

Despite getting bail in all the cases from the Peshawar High Court, at the behest of Maryam Nawaz, who was rejected by the public through vote slip, the Punjab police tried to abduct Mian Aslam Iqbal, it said. Without being influenced by fascism and lawlessness, they made it clear the elected members of PTI will reach the Assembly along with the chief ministerial candidate Mian Aslam Iqbal and will fight the mandate thieves. “The spectacle of state patronage of mandate thieves should be stopped and the stolen mandate should be returned to the elected representatives of the people and pave the way for the supremacy of Constitution and law across the country, especially in Punjab. The people who have rejected the fascists with their vote despite all the difficulties will not allow them to force themselves by dividing their mandate among thieves,” they said.

Meanwhile, the newly-elected independent members of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly (KP), 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 KP.

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 KP 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 wants 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.

Muhammad Ali Saif confirmed that consultations within the party were underway to choose members for the provincial cabinet. He added 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 (ECP). “The joining of SIC 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 Saif said that one major reason that they couldn’t call the assembly session was that the ECP had not notified the results of all the assembly seats.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) and Pakistan Peoples Party on Thursday resolved to address Balochistan’s issues together. The PMLN and PPP’s parliamentary parties in Balochistan held a joint session in Islamabad. Prominent among those who attended the meeting were Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, Jam Kamal Khan, Mir Sarfraz Bugti, Mir Changez Jamali, Sarbuland Khan, Jaffar Khan Mandokhel, Jamal Shah Kakar, Wali Mohammad Noorzai, Asim Kurd Gello, Sardar Faisal Jamali and Barkat Ali Rind. On this occasion, matters pertaining to the formation of the government in Balochistan were discussed. The leaderships of PML-N and PPP had also exchanged views on the situation in the province.