302 MNAs take oath in ruckus-hit NA session

Author: Agencies

Newly elected members of the National Assembly took oath on Thursday as the inaugural session was marred by ruckus and slogans in favour of PTI founder Imran Khan and his party.

The maiden session witnessed the presence of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Ishaq Dar and others at the session, with Sardar Latif Khosa, Sher Afzal Marwat, Shandana Gulzar, Shehryar Afridi and other leaders in attendance from the PTI.

The first session of the 16th NA commenced with the recitation of the Holy Quran and the national anthem, following which Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf administered the oath to the newly elected members. A total of 302 newly-elected members took oath in the inaugural session, the NA secretariat said. After the oaths were administered, Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Bilawal Bhutto, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and others signed on the register marking lawmakers’ attendance on the Role of Sign of the members per Rule No.7 of the Rules and Procedure of National Assembly 2007.

After signing, Nawaz went to the visitors’ gallery to wave at his daughter, incumbent Punjab CM Maryam Nawaz. He then left the assembly hall, followed shortly by Maryam and Shehbaz. Following the departure of the PML-N supremo, the sloganeering largely died down. The session also witnessed the return of PTI to the Parliament after the party resigned en masse, the only difference is that PTI lawmakers have entered the legislature this time around under the banner of the Sunni Itehad Council (SIC).

Despite the unspoken ban on mentioning Imran Khan’s name and displaying his photo or video, this is the first time the party has had the chance to take the PTI founder’s name and show his photos on television screens; perhaps a small reward for returning to the Parliament.

Aamir Dogar, who served as PTI’s chief whip during the previous stint, not only signed on the register but also shouted slogans in favour of Imran and PTI while standing near the NA speaker’s desk. The House echoed with slogans in favour of PTI and party founder Imran Khan, with lawmakers wearing Imran’s face mask and carrying his posters.

The lawmakers, sitting on the treasury benches, were seen short of posters or play cards in favour of Nawaz Sharif and the PML-N and had no other option but to keep shouting slogans on top of their voice.

The elections for speaker and deputy speaker will be held on March 1, incumbent NA Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf announced and added that they would be held using the secret ballot method. PTI’s candidate for the premiership, Omar Ayub, said that the house is incomplete, adding that even people nominated on reserve seats could not come to take oath during the inaugural session today.

In response to Ayub and PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar’s arguments that the SIC was deprived of the reserve seats, PML-N’s Khawaja Asif said that the SIC has not even submitted the list for reserve seats to the ECP, implying how could they be given seats then. Seeing the unruly behaviour of the lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, the speaker adjourned the session till 10 am today. Security around the Parliament House was increased significantly and authorities closed the routes from Serena Chowk, Nadra Chowk and D-Chowk from entering the Red Zone.

A heavy contingent of police and FC was deployed on the roads, with vehicles undergoing thorough checking before entry into the Red Zone. Meanwhile, the election for the coveted slot of prime minister will be held on Sunday (March 3), according to the National Assembly Secretariat.

As per the schedule issued by the NA, candidates can submit their nomination papers till Saturday, 2pm. The scrutiny of the papers will be completed the same day.

It added that the procedure for the election of the premier had been provided to the MNAs. It must be noted that the PML-N has nominated Shehbaz Sharif for the slot of the prime minister while Omer Ayub Khan is the PTI’s pick.

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