Newly elected MNAs sworn-in amid protest by PTI-backed lawmakers

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Election of speaker, deputy speaker to be held on March 1; NA to elect prime minister on March 4

The 16th National Assembly on Wednesday came into effect with the oath-taking of the lawmakers elected by the people during the February 8 general elections.

The oath to the newly elected MNAs was administered by Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf. 

The session started with a ruckus as soon as the national anthem ended as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed lawmakers, who have joined the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), surrounded the speaker’s dias. 

The development comes as the convening of the assembly’s session, required to be held on the 21st day after the polls under Article 91(2) of the Constitution, was surrounded by uncertainty after President Arif Alvi had stressed the allocation of reserved seats before the session.

Geo News had reported that the president had neither rejected nor accepted the summary and only communicated his verbal response on the matter.

On Monday, in light of Alvi’s reluctance to summon the assembly session, the National Assembly Secretariat convened the session.

However, the president finally summoned the NA session after the political parties warned him of legal consequences.

It is pertinent to mention that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has allocated reserved seats to political parties, but it has not awarded reserved quota to the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed independent candidates joined the party.

A day earlier, the electoral body’s five-member bench, chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja reserved the verdict on the petitions filed by SIC seeking the allocation of women and minority seats.

Various politicians including the PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari have arrived at the NA building ahead of the oath-taking session.

Assembly to elect its PM on March 4

As per the schedule, once Speaker Ashraf administers oath to the newly-elected legislators, election will be held for the new speaker and deputy speaker.

For the aforementioned coveted constitutional posts, aspiring candidates are required to submit their nomination papers before 12pm today — with the voting set to be held on Friday (tomorrow).

This would be followed by the election of the prime minister, for which the candidates are required to file their nomination papers on March 3, whereas the election for the country’s chief executive would be held next week on March 4 (Monday).

Sources say that the newly-elected prime minister is likely to take oath as the country’s chief executive on the same day.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which has the backing of the PPP, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and others, has nominated Shehbaz Sharif as its candidate for the top office.

Whereas, the PTI has fielded Omar Ayub Khan as its candidate for the country’s premier.

Composition of lower house

The National Assembly comprises 336 members out of which 266 are elected whereas 70 seats are reserved for women and minorities. These reserved seats are allotted to the parties as per their strength in the house.

Moreover, 169 votes are required to be elected as prime minister. 

In light of this, Shehbaz seems to be in the pole position to secure the victory.

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