With around 301 members-elect taking oath to become members of the Lower House of parliament, proceedings of the 14th National Assembly (NA) on Saturday were limited to oath taking and sign rolling by members, including the PML-N leader and prime minister-designate Nawaz Sharif.
However, the session looked lacklustre as top opposition leaders, including PTI chairman Imran Khan, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Jamshed Dasti and some others remained absent.
Members-elect Asad Qaiser, Pervez Khattak and Shahbaz Sharif have already opted to retain their respective provincial assembly seats.
The House burst into uproar and desk-thumping as soon as the name of PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif was announced for roll-signing.
Before Nawaz could rise from his seat and proceed to the speaker’s desk, the PML-N members and workers stood up to give him a standing ovation and shouted raising slogans, “the lion has come”, “Nawaz Sharif we are with you”. However, members of the opposition remained in their seats.
Following the roll-signing, Nawaz went to the opposition leader’s seat and shook hands with PPP leader Khurshid Shah, but arrogantly ignored his former loyalist and deputy, Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, who was sitting next to Shah.
Later, the PTI parliamentary party also named Hashmi as its candidate for the slot of Leader of the House. So, Hashmi would now face an imminent defeat against Nawaz, who has the support of over 190 members, while the PTI has the support of only 35 members.
During the proceedings, most PML-N members went to the seat of Nawaz and paid regard to their party head.
PML-N’s female members Marvi Memon, Myza Hameed and Zaib Jaffer also went to Nawaz and conveyed regards to him.
Myza handed him over some written notes while Zaib Jaffer gave him some written application, which was reluctantly accepted by Nawaz.
The newly-elected members of the 14th National Assembly took oath on Saturday in the maiden session called after the May 11 general elections, marking the first historic transition of power from one democratically-elected government to another in the country’s history.
Dr Fehmida Mirza, speaker of the outgoing assembly, presided over the proceedings that started an hour and 55 minutes late. Simultaneously, she also took oath herself as a member and also administered the oath to other members.
As many as 301 members took oath in the first sitting which met for two hours and 23 minutes. The oath was followed by the signing of ‘roll of members’. The speaker also informed the House about the election of the speaker and the deputy speaker, which will be held on Monday.
The House adjourned at 2:18pm to meet again on Monday, June 3, at 1100 hours.
As many as 300 members were present at the start, while only 47 members were there at the time of adjournment.
‘Order of the Day’ was available to the legislators, observers and others; however, information on members’ attendance was not available to the observers and the public.
In the House of 342 members, 301 took oath, 10 were yet to take oath, nine seats were held with the members who succeeded on more than one seats, while decision on 10 reserved seats for women from Punjab is awaited and election was not held in nine constituencies and three candidates have opted for provincial assemblies.
The National Assembly Secretariat said Nawaz had decided to vacate NA-68 Sargodha, Sadaruddin Rashidi of PML-F had vacated NA-235, Javed Hashmi had vacated NA-48 and Faryal Talpur had vacated her seat reserved for women.
As Imran Khan, Javed Hashmi, Jamshed Dasti and Maulana Fazlur Rehman were not present for taking oath and signing the roll of members, therefore, decision about their retaining or vacating any of seats won by them, is awaited. Mahmood Khan Achakzai, who holds two seats of National Assembly Balochistan seats, is stated to decide on retaining one seat by June 10.
The only Senator who took oath as MNA was Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani, who has decided to vacate the Senate seat.
Earlier, long queues of vehicles were seen in front of Parliament House as large number of visitors had also reached the capital to witness oath-taking of their popular leaders.
The galleries were flooded with visitors as the secretariat had issued passes over and above the capacity of the National Assembly hall galleries. Opposition members came first to the House as the PML-N members were busy in parliamentary party meeting and reached the House almost an hour later.