Maryam Nawaz & newly elected lawmakers take oath in Pak’s Punjab Assembly

Meanwhile SIC/PTI lawmakers chanted slogans of "mandate thieves". They said they would form the government once the court gives them back their stolen mandate.

Lahore: Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of three-time ex-Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif, on Friday, February 23, launched her innings in parliamentary politics when she was administered the oath as a member of the Punjab assembly, ahead of being elected as the first woman chief minister of the key province.

Maryam, 50, was among the 337 elected lawmakers of Pakistan’s Punjab Assembly on Friday took oath in a session marred by sloganeering between Sharif-led Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and members of jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) who have now joined the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC).

Outgoing Speaker Sibtain Khan administered the oath of office to 200 PML-N lawmakers, including chief minister candidate Maryam Nawaz.

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Around 100 of 113 Sunni Ittehad Council SIC (the new home of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf of Imran Khan) also took the oath. The SIC/PTI candidate Aslam Iqbal and some others did not reach the assembly as a heavy contingent of police was present there to arrest him for being involved in the May 9 attacks on military installations following the arrest of Imran Khan last year.

After administering the oath, the Speaker announced the election of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker on Saturday.

All the PML-N lawmakers had brought the portrait of Nawaz Sharif to the House and chanted slogans to express solidarity with the 74-year-old party supremo, who surprisingly nominated his younger brother to the post of prime minister.

The SIC/PTI lawmakers chanted slogans of “mandate thieves”. They said they would form the government once the court gives them back their stolen mandate.

Maryam, who is currently the vice president of the PML-N, is certain to become the first-ever woman chief minister in Pakistan’s history as her party has now a two-thirds majority in the Punjab Assembly.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on the other hand has deprived the SIC/PTI of women and minorities reserved seats.

The ECP says it has not submitted a list for the women and reserved seats on time. The SIC’s appeal has been pending with the ECP in this matter.

The PTI-backed successful independent candidates joined the SIC across the country to have its identity and avoid a situation in which they were forced to change their loyalty to the PML-N.

The PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party have announced that they will form a coalition government after the February 8 general elections led to a hung Parliament with no party able to form a government on its own.

Independent candidates, mostly backed by Imran Khan’s PTI, won more than 90 seats in the National Assembly but they could not muster enough support from other parties to form a government.

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