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Jun
02

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Outgoing speaker Syed Matiullah Agha administered the oath of office to 56 members of the house.

The Balochistan National Party – Mengal (BNP-M), which represents two seats in the provincial assembly, boycotted the session in protest against alleged rigging during the May 11 general elections.

The house comprises of a total of 65 seats: 51 direct seats, 11 seats reserved for women and three for non-Muslims.

Election on one seat of the province was postponed on account of the killing of a candidate.

Some members of the new assembly were absent from the inaugural session.

The new speaker and deputy speaker would be elected in another session scheduled for June 4 after the nomination of candidates for these spots.

The leader of the house is scheduled to be elected on June 7.

Members take oath in four different languages

In stark contrast to the previous assembly with the Nawab Raisani-led coalition government and effectively no opposition, the new provincial assembly appeared fragmented as its first session witnessed differences among the legislature over issues as petty as what language to take the oath in.

Despite directives of the Speaker, members of highly polarised Balochistan Assembly took their oath in four different languages.

As the assembly session began, Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal of Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) rose at his seat and requested the chair to allow him to take oath in Pashto.

However, Speaker Syed Matiullah Agha directed the members that oath should be either taken in national language Urdu or English.

Ziaratwal insisted and said his party’s members had decided to take oath in Pashto as part of his party’s manifesto.

Dr. Malik Baloch, the chief of National Party (NP) also endorsed Ziaratwal’s demand and requested the chair to allow NP’s members to take oath in Balochi.

However, the vocal Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q) member, Mir Abdul Karim Nowsherwani, stood at his seat and said Urdu was the national language and that everyone should take oath in the same rather than local languages.

Despite the Speaker’s directives, members took their oaths in Urdu, Balochi, Pashto and Brahvi.

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