Newly elected members from PPP, PML-N take oath for Sindh provincial assembly; opposition remains absent

Karachi, Feb 24 (PTI) The newly elected members belonging to the PPP, PML-N and other ally parties on Saturday took oath in the Sindh Provincial Assembly, amidst a boycott by the opposition parties against the alleged rigged results in the February 8 polls.

Newly sworn-in Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani conducted the oath ceremony from which the newly won legislators backed by former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and other opposition parties were absent.

“The Sindh Assembly’s MPAs elect took their oath on Saturday with protests continuing in several parts of Karachi by some opposition parties against alleged rigged results in the general elections earlier this month,” said an official.

He said the independent candidates backed by Khan’s PTI, Grand Democratic Alliance and Jamaat Islaami were absent.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) which is also forming the government at the centre with the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) bagged 84 seats in the 168-member Sindh assembly followed by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement 28 and PTI independents 14 and two each from GDA and JI.

The PPP formed by the Bhutto dynasty has ruled the southern province for nearly 24 years through seven governments and six chief ministers.

PPP Chairman and former foreign minister Bilawal Zardari-Bhutto has already announced that Syed Murad Ali Shah who was Chief Minister before the caretaker government will again be reelected in the new set-up.

But even as the oath-taking ceremony started in the assembly police contingents had to use force and make arrests to prevent protest rallies by the GDA, JI and Jamiat Ulema Pakistan from entering the Red Zone.

These parties were protesting the alleged rigging in the elections, a charge dismissed by the authorities.

The GDA, a conglomerate of mostly Sindhi nationalist parties, said that several of its workers were arrested by the Karachi police at various points across the city as they protested against alleged poll rigging.

“From what we know several workers of the GDA, JUI-F, the PTI and the Jamaat-i-Islami were taken into custody,” GDA Information Secretary Sardar Abdul Rahim said.

The independent lawmakers backed by PTI have recently joined the Sunni Ittehad Council according to instructions from the jailed party chief and former prime minister Imran Khan. They also protested when the Punjab Assembly session was held on Friday in Lahore.

Meanwhile, in Balochistan sit-in protests by an alliance of four nationalist parties continued on Saturday against the alle ged rigging in the Febru ary 8 general elections.

The protest has been continuing for over two weeks in different parts of Balochistan including the provincial capital, Quetta.

The protests are being held in Khuzdar, Turbat, Panjgur, Gwadar, Hub, Noshki, Kharan, Kalat, Pishin, Chaman and Qila Abdullah areas.

In some areas, traffic was affected on inter-provincial roads, but the national highways which connect Balochistan with other parts of the country have been opened.