Pakistan's parliament sworn in after divisive poll

3 out of Pakistan's 4 provincial assemblies also sworn in, in wake of July 25 elections

Pakistan's parliament sworn in after divisive poll

World Bulletin / News Desk

Pakistan’s newly elected lower house, the National Assembly, was sworn in on Monday following last month’s elections, with the existing political divide in this South Asian nuclear country expected to deepen, analysts have warned.

The swearing-in ceremony was held at the parliament house in the capital Islamabad with Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, the outgoing speaker, administering the oath. Parliamentarians took to their feet when the national anthem was played.

The ceremony coincided with the beginning of another corruption trial against three-time ex-Premier Nawaz Sharif, who has already been sentenced to 10 years in jail for owning four posh apartments in London.

 Prominent parliamentarians sworn in include Prime-Minister-in-waiting Imran Khan, former President Asif Zardari, Pakistan Muslim League (of Sharif) head Shehbaz Sharif, former Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, center-left Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and Speaker-designate Asad Qaiser.

Donned in a traditional white shalwar-kameez, Khan, whose center-right Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) emerged as the single largest party in the July 25 elections, sat in the front row as parliamentarians kept coming to greet him on his election success.

Bilawal Bhutto was the only prominent opposition leader who briefly shook hands with Khan, while others chose to distance themselves from the firebrand leader, who is famous for his aggressive language and public bashing of his political opponents.

The house will re-convene on Aug. 15 to elect the new speaker and deputy speaker, whereas election for the prime minister are likely to be held on Aug. 16. The new premier will take the oath of office on Aug. 18.

Three out of four provincial assemblies -- Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhawa -- were also sworn in in Karachi, Quetta, and Peshawar on Monday. The Punjab Assembly is to follow on Aug. 15.

The PTI leads with 158 seats in the 342-member house, according to final results announced by Pakistan’s Election Commission.

The PML(N) trailed in second with 82 seats, while the PPP and MMA got 53 and 15 seats, respectively.

The opposition parties have already formed an 11-party Grand Opposition Alliance which has rejected the election results and vowed to continue their protests across the country, apart from demanding that the election commission officials step down.

The commission, however, has rejected the opposition demands, calling the elections free and fair.

Not only the opposition parties, but also several international media outlets and observers -- such as the European Union Observers Mission -- have found “irregularities” in the pre- and post-election process, including a lack of a “level playing field for all participants”.

 

 

Last Mod: 13 Ağustos 2018, 10:54
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