KARACHI: Members of the Sindh Assembly will vote for the candidates nominated by their respective political parties today (Wednesday).
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which has a simple majority in the House, has nominated Agha Siraj Durrani and Rehana Leghari for the slot of speaker and deputy speaker, respectively. Meanwhile, all other parliamentary parties in the provincial assembly, including Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have decided to field joint candidates to contest the elections against the PPP nominees. Javed Hanif of MQM will be contesting for the speaker's slot, while PTI MPA Rabia Azfar has been nominated for the slot of deputy speaker.
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The assembly secretariat, after scrutiny of the nomination papers, finalised the list of candidates and arrangements for the elections, which will be held through secret ballot during the assembly session. PPP MPA Nadir Magsi has been appointed presiding officer and will conduct the election at around 10am.
There are a total of 168 seats in the assembly. Around 130 MPAs have been elected to the provincial assembly on general seats, while the remaining reserved seats for women and minorities have been divided among political parties according to their numbers on general seats.
According to the notified results, the PPP won 75 general seats, in addition to 17 women seats and five minority seats, bringing its total strength to 97 in the assembly. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has 23 general, five women and two minority seats, making a total of 30.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan has a total of 21 MPAs, which include 16 on general seats, four on women reserved seats and one minority member. The fourth largest party in the House is the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) with a total of 13 MPAs, with 10 on general seats, two on women and one minority member.
The Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan will have three MPAs in the Sindh Assembly with two on general seats and one female member, while a single MPA elected on general seats will represent the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Sindh Assembly secretary GM Farooq said that only lawmakers and journalists would be allowed to attend today's session in view of security concerns.
"We have cancelled the passes of visitors given the security threat," he said, adding that after the deputy speaker's election, the session will be adjourned with the announcement to collect nomination forms for the election of leader of the house (chief minister). "We will issue the nomination forms to political parties today [Wednesday] and the election will be held on Thursday," he said.
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The PPP has already nominated former chief minister Murad Ali Shah as leader of the house for the second consecutive term. On the other hand, opposition parties have reached a consensus over the name of GDA's Sheharyar Mahar.
After chief minister's election, the opposition parties will nominate a person to lead the opposition in the House. Sources privy to the development told The Express Tribune that the opposition leader will come from PTI which is the second largest party in the house. The party will consult all opposition parties to finalise the name of the opposition leader today.