2:56 pm, Monday, 22 April 2024

Pakistan’s newly-elected lawmakers swear-in

Lawmakers were sworn in during the first sitting of PakistanÕs new parliament on Thursday, three weeks after an election marred by widespread allegations of rigging.

PakistanÕs February 8 poll took place with ex-prime minister Imran Khan jailed and barred from running, and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party targeted by a campaign of arrests and censorship.

KhanÕs followers defied the crackdown to win more seats than any other party but the military-backed Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is set to shut them out of power with a coalition government, reports AFP.

According to the coalition agreement, former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif — who ousted Khan in a 2022 no-confidence vote — will be elected prime minister again by new lawmakers in the coming days.

Parliamentarians began arriving at the 336-seat National Assembly in Islamabad on Thursday morning and took their oaths of office in unison at about 11:30am.

PTI members were forced to run as independents in the election but some arrived at parliament carrying portraits of Khan, brandishing them in defiance as Sharif and other PML-N leaders entered the chamber.

ÔIn democracy, the parliament is a sacred place,Õ PTIÕs acting chief Gohar Ali Khan told reporters as he arrived to be sworn in.

ÔThose who donÕt have public trust and donÕt have the mandate should not be sitting here.Õ

Gohar held aloft a poster reading ÔRelease Imran KhanÕ as he signed the register of parliamentarians but the moment was omitted from state TV broadcasts as cameras cut away.

The Sharif familyÕs PML-N has agreed to govern with the Pakistan Peoples Party run by the dynasty of slain ex-premier Benazir Bhutto, as well as several smaller factions.

In return, the PPP has been promised the office of president for their patriarch and BhuttoÕs widower, Asif Ali Zardari.

Cabinet positions have yet to be announced.
Analysts regard the broad alliance as a shaky enterprise, facing overlapping economic and security crises plaguing the nation of more than 240 million.

Monitors have also warned the PML-N coalition may suffer from a perceived lack of legitimacy by portions of the public sceptical over whether their votes were counted.

Despite PTI-aligned candidates exceeding expectations, Imran Khan claims the election was brazenly rigged to prevent his partyÕs landslide return to power.

Islamabad cut mobile internet signal nationwide on election day, citing security reasons but declining to give specifics. Results were also delayed, further stoking rigging claims.

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Pakistan’s newly-elected lawmakers swear-in

Update Time : 07:52:21 pm, Thursday, 29 February 2024

Lawmakers were sworn in during the first sitting of PakistanÕs new parliament on Thursday, three weeks after an election marred by widespread allegations of rigging.

PakistanÕs February 8 poll took place with ex-prime minister Imran Khan jailed and barred from running, and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party targeted by a campaign of arrests and censorship.

KhanÕs followers defied the crackdown to win more seats than any other party but the military-backed Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is set to shut them out of power with a coalition government, reports AFP.

According to the coalition agreement, former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif — who ousted Khan in a 2022 no-confidence vote — will be elected prime minister again by new lawmakers in the coming days.

Parliamentarians began arriving at the 336-seat National Assembly in Islamabad on Thursday morning and took their oaths of office in unison at about 11:30am.

PTI members were forced to run as independents in the election but some arrived at parliament carrying portraits of Khan, brandishing them in defiance as Sharif and other PML-N leaders entered the chamber.

ÔIn democracy, the parliament is a sacred place,Õ PTIÕs acting chief Gohar Ali Khan told reporters as he arrived to be sworn in.

ÔThose who donÕt have public trust and donÕt have the mandate should not be sitting here.Õ

Gohar held aloft a poster reading ÔRelease Imran KhanÕ as he signed the register of parliamentarians but the moment was omitted from state TV broadcasts as cameras cut away.

The Sharif familyÕs PML-N has agreed to govern with the Pakistan Peoples Party run by the dynasty of slain ex-premier Benazir Bhutto, as well as several smaller factions.

In return, the PPP has been promised the office of president for their patriarch and BhuttoÕs widower, Asif Ali Zardari.

Cabinet positions have yet to be announced.
Analysts regard the broad alliance as a shaky enterprise, facing overlapping economic and security crises plaguing the nation of more than 240 million.

Monitors have also warned the PML-N coalition may suffer from a perceived lack of legitimacy by portions of the public sceptical over whether their votes were counted.

Despite PTI-aligned candidates exceeding expectations, Imran Khan claims the election was brazenly rigged to prevent his partyÕs landslide return to power.

Islamabad cut mobile internet signal nationwide on election day, citing security reasons but declining to give specifics. Results were also delayed, further stoking rigging claims.