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LAHORE: In the election held on Saturday, Malik Ahmed Khan of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) secured victory as the Speaker of the Punjab Assembly. His triumph came after defeating the candidate fielded by the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) in a secret ballot, where he garnered 224 votes, surpassing his opponent, Ahmed Khan Bachhar, who received 96 votes.

Notably, five votes from the SIC were cast in favour of Malik Ahmed Khan.

Meanwhile, in the race for the deputy speaker, Malik Zaheer Iqbal Channar of PML-N defeated his rival Moin Riaz from the Sunni Ittehad Council.

Punjab MPAs sworn in amid delays, tension

The second session of the newly-elected Punjab Assembly commenced under the chairmanship of outgoing Speaker Sibtain Khan. Tensions flared during the session as members of PML-N and SIC, who secured victory with the backing of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), engaged in heated exchanges.

A total of 322 MPA-elects participated in the voting process for the assembly speaker, while 16 candidates opted to abstain from the proceedings.

Following his election, Speaker Sibtain Khan administered the oath to Malik Ahmed Khan, who assumed his responsibilities promptly.

The assembly session, initially delayed by one-and-a-half hours due to protests both inside and outside the legislative premises, witnessed a robust presence of law enforcement personnel to maintain order.

Additionally, six MPAs, including leaders from the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and independent candidates took their oaths during the session, marking their official induction into the assembly.

During the session, SIC leader Rana Aftab criticized the proceedings, labelling them as unconstitutional and illegal due to the absence of SIC members from the reserved seats. He vowed to challenge any decisions made by the assembly in court.

Responding to Aftab’s remarks, PML-N’s Malik Muhammad Ahmad emphasised the importance of adhering to constitutional procedures, particularly regarding the allocation of reserved seats.

Furthermore, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) announced its support for PML-N candidates for key positions in the Punjab Assembly, including the chief minister, speaker, and deputy speaker, signalling a broader coalition within the assembly.

He said we had requested speaker Malik Ahmed Khan to constitute a committee for the removal of the hurdles in the way of making the province of South Punjab.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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Johnny Walker Feb 25, 2024 05:39pm
Sham democracy in action.
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