Assembly waits for go-ahead to call house to order

ECP says that the elected representatives will be notified within 24 hours.

Hafeez Tunio May 22, 2013
File photo of the Sindh Assembly. PHOTO: ONLINE/FILE


Elections might be over but the elected representatives are still waiting for the official notification by the Election Commission of Pakistan which will also set the ball rolling for the formation of the Sindh government.

Among the hold-ups in issuing a gazetted appointment of the elected representatives are the multiple cases of re-polling and re-counting are in the pipeline.

In Sanghar, the court has ordered re-polling at PS-81 after a petition was filed by Jam Madad Ali Khan of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional who challenged the results of the winning candidate, Pakistan Peoples Party’s Muhammad Khan Junejo - the latter secured 35,452 votes while the former managed to bank 34,113 votes. The ECP has, however, yet to fix a date for the re-polls in the constituency despite the court’s orders.

The election commission also has to announce the dates for holding elections on those seats where polling was terminated due to the death of a contesting candidate.

In total, elections on three seats of the Sindh Assembly and one of the National Assembly were canceled in Sindh.  In Karachi, Shakil Ahmed of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement - Haqiqi (MQM-H) who was nominated by the party for PS-95 (Orangi) was gunned down before May 11 following which polling on the seat did not take place. Similarly, the election commission had terminated the election in Mirpurkhas following the death of Waqar Buland, an independent candidate for PS-64.

Tipping the scales

Tharparkar has become a disputed territory in Sindh with some contestants challenging the results in court and others approaching the ECP for recounting of votes, ultimately leading to ECP’s announcement that re-elections will be held at certain polling stations in PS-62 and PS-63.

The same area is waiting for the result of the National Assembly seats of NA-229 and NA-230.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Sindh Election Commissioner SM Tariq Qadri admitted that the election commission had no other option but to withhold the results following the complaints at some of the polling stations in Tharparkar and other districts. According to him, the ECP has fixed June 1 for re-polls in Tharparkar and other areas of Sindh.

He listed Thatta, Kashmore and Shikarpur among the areas where doubts have been raised about the credibility of the results. Giving the example of the National Peoples Party (NPP), Qadri said that recounting was also tipping the scales for some parties. The NPP initially secured three Sindh Assembly and two National Assembly seats but after the recounting process, Arif Mustafa Jatoi of the party lost PS-22 (Naushero Feroze).

“The post-election reshuffling has created problems for us in order to issue the official notification of the winning candidates,” he said. He made it clear, however, that the process would no longer be delayed and that the elected representatives will be notified within 24 hours.

Order of the house

The duty of summoning the Sindh Assembly session oath taking rests on the shoulders of the assembly speaker. “We cannot summon the session of the Sindh Assembly until or unless the election commission issues the notification of elected representatives,” said Sindh Assembly Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro. “After the notification is issued, the session may be called within 21 days but we plan to hold it as soon as possible.”

According to Khuhro, the incumbent speaker will administer the oath to the newly elected members. The election for the speaker and deputy speaker is normally held the next day in the assembly after which the newly elected speaker administers the oath to the deputy speaker.

Later, election for the leader of the house (chief minister) takes place.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2013.


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