Pakistan’s New National Assembly Begins, 329 Members Take Oath
Islamabad: The maiden session of Pakistan’s newly-elected National Assembly began here on Monday, with the outgoing speaker administering the oath to 329 members of the Lower House of the Parliament as part of the country’s second democratic transition of power. Presiding over the 15th Parliament session, Speaker of previous National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq administered the oath to the new members in the 342-member house. This was followed by the signing of the “Roll of Members”, marking their presence in a register, Dawn online reported. The session, summoned by President Mamnoon Hussain, commenced with the National Anthem and was followed by the recitation of the Holy Quran.
Prime Minister-in-waiting and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan was among those sworn in, along with other prominent leaders including Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, former President Asif Ali Zardari, and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) President Shahbaz Sharif. Bilawal Bhutto, who has been elected to the National Assembly for the first time, shook hands with Khan as the members took their seats.
Elections for Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly will be held on August 15. The PTI has already nominated former Speaker of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Asad Qaiser for the office of National Assembly Speaker while the joint opposition, comprising 11 political parties, fielded PPP’s Syed Khursheed Shah for the speakership. Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) President Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s Asadur Rehman was nominated for the post of deputy speaker.
According to the poll body’s figures, the PTI now has 158 members in the National Assembly after the joining of nine Independents and bagging of 33 seats reserved for women and minorities. It faces a strong opposition from the PML-N with 82 seats, followed by PPP’s 53 seats and MMA with 15 seats. These three had earlier joined forces to take on Khan. The PTI chief is scheduled to take the oath of office on August 18 at the President’s House. Shahbaz Sharif is the joint candidate of opposition parties for the top post. (IANS)