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KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Sunday elected Syed Awais Qadir Shah as its 16th Speaker and Anthony Naveed as Deputy Speaker with a majority vote.

PPP’s Awais Shah secured 111 votes to become the new Speaker, defeating rival MQM’s Sofia Shah, who could bag only 36 votes.

Similarly, Anthony Naveed garnered a majority vote to claim the position of Deputy Speaker against MQM’s Rashid Khan.

Speaker, Deputy Speaker to be elected today

Retiring Speaker Aga Siraj Khan Durrani supervised the election that held through a secret ballot, and later administered the oath to the new Speaker in Sindhi language.

In his opening address, Awais Shah pledged to uphold the rules of procedure of the Sindh Assembly and ensure ample speaking opportunities for legislators over the next five years. He also promised “unbiased” house proceedings.

The PTI’s backed independent members took oath as lawmakers during the session but did not vote to any candidates, boycotting the election along with the JI, while three GDA members were absent.

Only the PPP and MQM participated in election for Speaker and Deputy Speaker, as the PTI, JI and GDA either abstained or boycotted the voting. Independent candidates shouted slogans to call the February 8 polls as “rigged”.

Awais Shah announced that the election for the leader of the house is taking place on February 26, Monday (today) at 2 pm.

PPP has fielded Syed Murad Ali Shah against MQM’s Ali Khursheedi for the post of provincial chief minister. Murad is expected to secure another term, considering an overwhelming support for him in the house.

PTI’s backed Shabbir Qureishi claimed that Murad has contacted the independents for the chief minister vote, saying that his party members are boycotting the poll, instead.

Separately, the outgoing Sindh Chief Minister, Justice Maqbool Baqar, has announced that during his tenure, street crime in Karachi has decreased by 4.19%.

He also reported that operations in the riverine area have been successful in reducing the number of kidnapping-for-ransom incidents from 21 to 10 per month.

He said that he took over in mid-August 2023 and during his over six-month tenure he worked hard and made some tangible improvements.

Justice Baqar said that Revamping 15 Madadgar, initiating the Sindh Safe City Project after ensuring that its cost was substantially rationalized, and addressing issues afflicting investigations have all contributed to this improvement.

Nonetheless, we are conscious of the fact that crime would continue to rear its head if policing is not supplemented by better governance and more egalitarian policies. While acting against major suppliers of narcotics, for instance, the caretaker CM contemporaneously increased funding to rehabilitate those who struggle with narcotics addiction.

The interim CM said that he was saddened to see the impact of floods on our educational landscape.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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