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About 148 MPAs of Sindh Assembly took oath amid opposition’s protest

KARACHI: Today, amidst heightened security measures, a total of 148 newly-elected members of the Sindh Assembly took oath, marking the commencement of the session in a delayed start within a total house of 168 members.

The session opened with the solemn recitation of the Holy Quran, followed by Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani administering the oath to the members amid spirited slogans resonating throughout the assembly hall.

Subsequently, the elected legislators are set to proceed with the election of the House’s speaker and deputy speaker in accordance with the assembly’s procedural rules.

However, the oath-taking process encountered exceptions as four members, including two senators elected to provincial seats, abstained from taking the oath for various reasons. Notably, the issuance of a notification for Ameer Jamat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi, Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman, was stalled following his announcement of relinquishing his provincial assembly seat, PS-129.

Furthermore, the demise of PPP leader Abdul Aziz Junejo, elected on PS-80, added to the list of exceptions.

Before the swearing-in ceremony, tensions flared outside the Sindh Assembly as police detained 10 workers, including women, affiliated with the Qaumi Awami Tehreek, who were staging protests against alleged rigging in the February 8 general elections. Law enforcement officials resorted to baton-charging the protestors.

Various political entities, including the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), PTI, and Muhajir Qaumi Movement (MQM-Haqiqi), had planned a joint “peaceful” protest outside the assembly premises.

GDA Secretary Information, Sardar Abdul Raheem, emphasized their protest against what they perceived as the theft of people’s mandate, asserting that their demonstrations would escalate until their mandate was acknowledged.

He underscored their right to peaceful protest and urged the government to refrain from resorting to forceful measures. However, the political procession from various parts of Sindh faced hindrances as they were halted on the outskirts of the metropolis, leading to confrontations between party workers and law enforcement.

In a separate development, MQM-Pakistan nominated Sofia Saeed for the speaker’s position and Rashid Khan for deputy speaker. Syed Waseem, an MPA from MQM-P, emphasized the need for political parties to prioritize resolving the province’s issues collaboratively. He urged parties to engage in constructive politics while addressing people’s grievances.

Syed Waseem also urged those alleging rigging to present evidence to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) instead of resorting to roadblocks, asserting that such actions would not serve their cause.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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