148 newly-elected Sindh MPAs take oath amid opposition's protests against 'rigging'

Kamran Razi
Web Desk

Newly elected MPAs are taking oath at the Sindh Assembly's inaugural session in Karachi on February 24, 2024. — Geo News  

  • Four MPAs did not take oath during the swearing-in ceremony. 
  • Legislators to elect House’s speaker and deputy speaker soon.
  • Scene outside assembly turns sour as protestors clash with police. 

KARACHI: As the process of government formation in the country moves ahead, at least 148 newly-elected Sindh Assembly members took oath in the House of 168 on Saturday (today) as the session began with a delay amid high security.

The session commenced with the recitation of the Holy Quran after which Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani administered the oath to members as they chanted slogans in the assembly.

However, four members — two of whom are senators elected on provincial seats — did not take oath for different reasons.

One of these members was Jamat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi Emir Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman, whose notification of success in the polls had not been issued following his announcement of relinquishing his provincial assembly seat, PS-129.

Meanwhile, PPP's Abdul Aziz Junejo, who had been elected on PS-80, passed away after the polls.

After the oath-taking, the legislators will now elect the House’s speaker and deputy speaker under the assembly rules.

The Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), PTI and Muhajir Qaumi Movement (MQM-Haqiqi), had announced to hold a joint "peaceful" protest against the alleged rigging in the February 8 general elections outside the Sindh Assembly.

However, the situation turned tense before the swearing-in ceremony, as several workers, including women clashed with the police party present there to keep the order.

Over 20 Qaumi Awami Tehreek workers, including women, were arrested and shifted to the police station during the clashes. The law enforcement officials also baton-charged the protestors.

Earlier, GDA Information Secrtary Sardar Abdul Raheem said that their protest in Sindh was against stealing the people’s mandate, warning that the demonstrations would keep intensifying till their mandate was returned.

He said that a peaceful protest was their right and the government should avoid using force against them.

Caravans of various political parties coming from different parts of Sindh were stopped on the outskirts of the metropolis.

MQM-P nominates members for speaker, deputy speaker slots

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) MPA Syed Waseem said his party nominated Sofia Saeed for the speaker’s slot and Rashid Khan for deputy speaker. He said MQM-P wanted resolution of the province’s issues in coordination with other parties.

He said the political parties should do their party politics but should reduce people’s troubles.

The MQM-P leader said the ones who were defeated in the past levelled allegations of rigging. They should approach the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) if they had evidence of rigging as blocking roads would not benefit them, he said. 

Issues to be resolved in collab with other parties

PPP’s CM nominee Murad Ali Shah said he had already told how many seats they would get. They secured victory on more seats than expected, he said.

Shah said Pakistan faced copious issues which would be resolved in collaboration with other parties.

Section 144 imposed

The Sindh government earlier imposed Section 144 in the south zone in anticipation of the protest by the political parties to prevent any harm to security and order.

"... the Government of Sindh, in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 144 (6) Cr.PC, hereby imposes a ban on public assembly, gatherings, protests, processions, and demonstrations in South Zone Karachi Division for 30 days with immediate effect," stated the provincial government's notification issued late Friday.

148 newly-elected Sindh MPAs take oath amid oppositions protests against rigging

It further notifies, "In pursuance of Section 195 (i) (a) Cr.PC, the S.H.Os of the concerned Police Station are hereby authorised to register complaints under Section 188 PPC in writing for the violation of Section 144 CrPC against the violators of this notification."

Meanwhile, Sindh's interior minister, Brigadier (Retired) Haris Nawaz, said Section 144 is now in effect in the area around the building of the provincial assembly; hence, no marches or protests can be held nearby.

Nawaz stressed that strict security measures have been taken to protect the area around the assembly to ensure a law and order situation. The interior minister issued a stern warning, saying that strict legal actions await those who disrupt peace or engage in unlawful activities.

"Any troublemakers will face consequences," Nawaz declared, calling for cooperation between the public, the police, and other law enforcement agencies.

Traffic plan

On the other hand, the arteries leading to the Sindh Assembly were blocked by placing containers on them. The road leading to Burns Road from the Sindh Assembly was also blocked with containers.

The vehicular traffic coming from Fawwara Chowk, Sindh Club and Saddar was prevented from going towards M.R. Kiyani Chowk. Traffic police said traffic would be diverted from here towards Aiwan e Saddar and Khajoor Chowk. The traffic coming from I.I. Chundrigar Road will not be allowed to go towards M.R. Kiyani Chowk either and will be diverted towards Khajoor Chowk or Pakistan Chowk.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Asad Raza South said that the heavy police force had been deployed on Sharea Faisal for security and also around the Sindh Assembly.

He added that the road from Baloch Colony to Metropole was also partially closed.