Newly elected members of Pakistan National Assembly' sworn-in amid ruckus

World Thursday 29/February/2024 21:17 PM
Newly elected members of Pakistan National Assembly' sworn-in amid ruckus

Islamabad : The newly elected members of Pakistan's National Assembly were sworn in on Thursday during a session of parliament that was marred by protests, ruckus, and pro-Imran Khan sloganeering, reported Dawn.

The oaths were administered by Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf amid disruptions. According to a spokesperson for the NA, 302 members were sworn in out of a total strength of 336.

The swearing-in ceremony welcomed political leaders from major parties, including the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F), and others.

Prominent figures such as PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, President Shehbaz Sharif, PPP co-chairman Asif Zardari, Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, and Maulana Fazlur Rehman were among those taking the oath.

According to The Nation, tensions arose as the session commenced, with PTI-backed lawmakers, affiliated with the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), encircling the speaker's dias in protest against alleged rigging in the recent general polls.

Despite the disruption, Speaker Ashraf appealed for calm, allowing the oath-taking process to proceed. However, PTI-SIC lawmakers requested to speak on a point of order immediately after the oath, which was denied by the Speaker, instructing them to sign the member register first.

As signing commenced, SIC lawmakers chanted "qaidi number 804," referring to PTI founder Imran Khan's jail number at Adiala where he has been incarcerated since August 2023. In response, PML-N lawmakers shouted "ghari chor" (watch thief) in the House, as per The Nation.

The National Assembly is set to elect its new Speaker and Deputy Speaker, with nominations due before 12 pm on thursday, followed by voting scheduled for Friday. Prime Ministerial candidates are required to submit their nomination papers by March 3, with the election slated for March 4.

PML-N, backed by PPP, MQM-P, PML-Q, and others, has nominated Shehbaz Sharif for the top office, while PTI has fielded Omar Ayub Khan as its candidate.

The National Assembly comprises 336 members, including 266 elected representatives and 70 seats reserved for women and minorities. A minimum of 169 votes is required to secure the position of Prime Minister, positioning Shehbaz Sharif as a frontrunner for victory.