Newly elected lawmakers take oath in KP Assembly

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly (KP) Speaker Mushtaq Ghani on Wednesday administered oath to the newly-elected members of the assembly in a tumultuous session.

The speaker began the session with prayers for those who laid down their lives. Speaker Ghani directed the candidates to submit nomination papers for the offices of speaker and deputy speaker by 5pm. The voting for the key offices of assembly will be held on Thursday (tomorrow).

Originally scheduled to be held at 11am, the oath-taking ceremony faced delay owing to chaos caused allegedly by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidates and the tardy arrival of some members.

Ali Amin Gandapur, the PTI nominee for the chief minister’s position, reached the KP Assembly for the oath-taking session. Earlier, the PTI held a parliamentary session prior to the scheduled oath-taking ceremony. The PTI has nominated Babar Saleem Swati for the office of KP Assembly speaker and Surriya Bibi, elected from Chitral, for deputy speaker’s role.

The oath-taking proceedings were held amid chaotic scenes on the floor of the House, with disruptions caused by the PTI candidates and late arrivals. To maintain order, internet services in and around the KP Assembly were partially suspended.

As Sobia Khan of the PML-N brandished a watch – which was symbolic of PTI founder’s alleged involvement in the Toshakhana scam, some irate PTI members clapped back by hurling lota (ewer), an empty bottle and a ballpoint at her. This was followed by sloganeering which marred the proceedings.

The visitors to the assembly also faced a great deal of inconvenience as the administration reportedly issued more than 1,000 passes. The situation prompted the security officials to close the main gate. There were reports that many political workers entered the assembly precinct by scaling the wall. Some of the journalists who reached the assembly to cover the event failed to make it.

The 145-member KP Assembly consists of 115 general seats. There are 26 seats reserved for women and eight for minorities. PTI-backed candidates won 86 seats in the general election held on Feb 8. The JUI-F bagged seven seats, the PML-N five, the PPP four, the PTI-Parliamentary two and the ANP one.