President Mamnoon Hussain has summoned the new session of the country’s National Assembly on Monday (August 13), approving a summary sent to him by caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk for the purpose.
The prime minister forwarded the summary yesterday after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) called upon the interim government to summon the session of the lower house so that the process of formation of the new government could take place.
The PTI also asked Hussain to drop his plan to proceed to Ireland on a three-day official visit on August 16, as uncertainty prevails whether prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan can take the oath of his office on August 14 or not.
PTI leader Naeemul Haq told the media that his party had demanded an early session of the National Assembly.
In reply to a question, he said it is the job of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), and not the PTI, to reopen constituencies and issue notifications of successful candidates.
Meanwhile, sources in the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has urged President Hussain and the governors of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Baluchistan to follow the example of former Sindh governor Muhammad Zubair and step down from their offices.
Sources close to Sharif said that he is unhappy that the president and governors appointed by the last PML-N government remained in office when Muhammad Zubair had resigned on July 28.
“Why they [president and three governors] stick to their seats when Zubair has stepped down,” the incarcerated PML-N supreme leader was quoted as telling some party leaders who had met him at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences.
Sharif is of the view that Hussain resign immediately and not administer the oath of office to Imran Khan.
Meanwhile, KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra has summoned the maiden session of the new provincial assembly on Monday (August 13) for the swearing-in of its members.
A notification issued yesterday said that the elections for the offices of the speaker, deputy speaker and chief minister would take place during the inaugural session.
The proceedings will begin at 10am.
Outgoing Speaker Asad Qaisar will administer the oath to the members-elect.
After the oath-taking ceremony, candidates will file nomination papers for the offices of the speaker and deputy speaker the same day.
An official of the assembly secretariat said that the submission of nomination papers would continue until 4pm, and any candidate could withdraw his nomination papers until 11pm the same day.
He said that the elections for the speaker and deputy speaker would take place on August 15 through a secret ballot.
Under Article 53 of the Constitution read with Article 127, the assembly shall, at its first meeting and to the exclusion of any other business, elect from amongst its members a speaker and a deputy speaker.
Under Rule 8(2) of the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Procedure and Conduct of Business Rules, the election for the speaker shall be presided over by the outgoing speaker, and he will administer oath to his successor.
Later, the speaker will oversee the election of the deputy speaker and will administer the oath to the deputy speaker.
The filing of nomination papers for electing the leader of the house will be on the same day.
The PTI, which had won the July 25 general elections with absolute majority in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, nominated KP Assembly member-elect from Swat Mahmood Khan as leader of the house on Wednesday.
In the 124-strong house, the PTI won 65 seats, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) won 10, the Awami National Party seven, the PML-N five, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) four, and independents six.
The election in two constituencies – PK-78, Peshawar, and PK-99, Dera Ismail Khan – has been postponed due to the assassination of candidates Haroon Bilour of the ANP and Ikramullah Khan Gandapur of the PTI in suicide attacks prior to the election.
Sources said that four assembly members-elect of the PTI – former chief minister Pervez Khattak, outgoing speaker Asad Qaisar, former minister for revenue Ali Ameen Gandapur, and Dr Haider Ali Khan – are likely to vacate their provincial assembly seats to retain their National Assembly seats.
“These four will vacate their KP Assembly seats,” said an insider.
Khattak has won two Provincial Assembly seats from Nowshera, his home district.
Meanwhile, the PTI and opposition have yet to nominate candidates for the office of the speaker and deputy speaker.
Sources said a crucial meeting of the PTI would take place in Peshawar this weekend to discuss potential candidates.
Chief minister-designate Mahmood Khan will chair the meeting to be held at the Speaker’s House, where senior party leaders, including some assembly members-elect, will be in attendance.
The opposition parties have yet to nominate joint candidates for the slots of speaker and deputy speaker.
The PML-N’s Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha said that the opposition parties would nominate candidates for the two positions the day after the assembly members have taken their oaths.
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