The first session of the 15th National Assembly ended on Monday after 329 members of the lower house of the parliament took oath following their election in the July 25 countrywide polls.
Outgoing NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq administered the oath to the MNAs-elect in the 342-member house, in what is a part of only the second democratic transition in the country’s history.
Prime minister-in-waiting and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and other prominent political leaders, including PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and former president Asif Ali Zardari, were present in the assembly for the oath-taking.
TV footage showed the PTI chief shaking hands and posing for a photo with Bilawal, who is entering NA for his maiden term.
The session commenced with the MNAs-elect standing up for the national anthem. This was followed by the recitation of the Holy Quran.
The speaker then read out the procedure for the election of the new speaker and deputy speaker.
The MNAs-elect then stood up as Sadiq administered the oath of office to them. The MNAs were then asked to proceed to the speaker’s desk to sign the roll of members. Being first in the alphabetical order, PPP co-chairman Asif Zardari was the first to be called to sign the roll.
After completion of the swearing-in ceremony, the speaker prorogued the NA session until 10am on August 15, when the new speaker and deputy speaker of the assembly will be elected. The nomination papers for the same will be submitted by noon tomorrow.
Strict security measures were taken to avoid any untoward incident during the proceedings and irrelevant persons had been barred from entering the house.
Sessions were also held in the provincial assemblies of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, where MPAs-elect took oath of office. The oath-taking ceremony for MPAs-elect of Punjab Assembly will take place on August 15.
The PTI has already nominated former speaker of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Asad Qaiser for the office of NA speaker and he would face Syed Khursheed Shah of the PPP, a joint candidate of the 11-party alliance, Pakistan Alliance for Free and Fair Elections.
Similarly, PTI chairman Imran Khan will be contesting against PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif for the office of the prime minister.
KP Assembly takes oath
A session was held in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, where 111 MPAs took oath in the 124-member house.
PML-N MPA-elect Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha, who was nominated by KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra as the presiding officer, administered the oath to the new members of the provincial assembly.
Members of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, PPP and Awami National Party, who were wearing black bands on their arms, staged a symbolic walkout during the oath-taking over the terrorist violence that preceded the July 25 elections. They re-entered the assembly after the walkout and were administered the oath separately.
The session was subsequently adjourned indefinitely.
Sindh MPAs take oath
Outgoing Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani administered the oath to 165 MPAs-elect of the Sindh Assembly in Urdu, Sindhi and English.
The session was adjourned after all members signed the roll of members.
Apart from 38 reserved seats for women and religious minorities, the provincial legislature has 130 general seats.
The Election Commission of Pakistan has notified the results of 127 seats as the results of two constituencies are still awaited, while the election on PS-87 (Malir-I) was not held because of the death of a contestant.
Balochistan MPAs take oath
Outgoing speaker Raheela Hameed Khan Durrani administered the oath to 60 incoming members of the 11th Balochistan Assembly.
Four MPAs, including Mir Naseebullah Marri, took oath as a lawmaker for the first time.
The members also offered fateha for the people slain in terrorist incidents in the province in the run-up to the elections.
Sanaullah Zehri, who was elected as an MPA for the seventh time, did not turn up for the oath-taking ceremony.
The speaker adjourned the session after the oath-taking of the newly elected members.
Composition of new NA
After the issuance of notifications of the returned candidates on the reserved seats for women and minorities by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Saturday, the PTI has 158 members in the National Assembly.
The PTI’s tally has reached 158 members after the joining of nine independents and bagging 33 seats reserved for women and minorities.
Out of the 60 reserved women seats, the PTI has clinched 28, followed by the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) with 16 seats, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) nine seats, Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) two seats and one seat each by Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), Balochistan National Party (BNP), Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q).
Similarly, out of the 10 reserved seats for minorities, the PTI has won five, followed by two each by the PPP and PML-N and one by the MMA.
If the votes of the PTI and its allied parties are counted, the total comes to 184 in the house of 339. In addition to this, four independent MNAs-elect are also poised to support the PTI and, therefore, the total number of the members belonging to the PTI and its allies comes to 188. But the PTI will still not be facing a weak opposition as the strength of its arch-rival PML-N and its allies also comes to 151.
The PML-N with 82 seats is the largest party in the opposition group, followed by PPP (53 seats); MMA (15 seats) and ANP (one seat).
SC allows notification of NA-215 poll to be issued
Also on Monday, the Supreme Court suspended a Sindh High Court order restraining the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from notifying the results pertaining to the unofficially declared winner of NA-215 Sanghar-I.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar allowed the commission to issue the notification of victory of PPP’s candidate Naveed Dero
The high court had issued the restraining order on a petition filed by Grand Democratic Alliance candidate Khuda Bux Rajar.