Pakistan’s National Assembly Inaugural Session Adjourned with Heated Speeches

Thu Feb 29 2024
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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s National Assembly’s session has been adjourned until Friday as tensions flared between the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

During the 16th inaugural session, newly elected members of the National Assembly (MNAs) were administered the oath by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Raja Pervez Ashraf. However, the proceedings quickly devolved into a cacophony of slogans from members of both sides.

Omar Ayub, PTI’s nominee for the prime ministerial position, highlighted the absence of certain members, citing the exclusion of PTI’s reserved seats and imprisoned candidates who were unable to take the oath.

He specifically mentioned Aliya Hamza, a nominee for the women’s reserved seats, who was denied the opportunity to swear the oath due to being in jail.

Addressing the flour, PTI’s Barrister Gohar raised concerns about the legitimacy of the speaker and deputy speaker elections in the absence of certain members. He urged the Speaker to postpone the election of house representatives until seats were allocated to the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC).

In his speech, he claimed that the PTI has won 186 seats in the national assembly, more than the required numbers for treasury benches, against those currently holding office without a mandate from the public.

In response, PML-N senior leader Khawaja Asif engaged in a war of words, leading to PTI members chanting slogans accusing the PML-N of election rigging. Khawaja Asif waved a wristwatch, symbolizing the alleged involvement of PTI’s founder in the Toshakhana case.

Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf intervened, urging members to maintain decorum and allow others to speak. Subsequently, the session was adjourned until 10 am tomorrow (Friday).

It is pertinent to mention here that the ECP has withheld the notification of 25 out of 70 reserved seats. The ECP has notified 38 out of 60 women seats in the Provincial Assembly, and the poll body’s decision on whether to allot the remaining 22 seats to the SIC remains pending. Similarly, seven out of 10 non-Muslim seats in the National Assembly have been allotted, and the ECP’s decision on the remaining three seats for SIC candidates is pending.

In the National Assembly, there are a total of 70 reserved seats, with 60 reserved for women and 10 for religious minorities, within the 336-member house. These reserved seats are allocated to parliamentary parties in proportion to their representation in the assembly. Similarly, reserved seats in the four provincial legislatures are distributed among parliamentary parties based on their numerical strength in the respective houses.

Under the allocation formula, each reserved seat in the National Assembly corresponds to 4.8 members. Applying this formula, the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), with 92 members in the National Assembly, is expected to receive approximately all the remaining women’s and minorities’ seats.

Presently, 86 independent members, supported by Khan, have declared their support for the SIC. They have formally joined the party by submitting their affidavits to Pakistan’s election regulator.

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