The Sindhy Assembly building in Karachi. — APP File


Sindh government has put in place security arrangements around assembly building as newly elected members take oath as lawmakers today

The Sindhy Assembly building in Karachi. — APP File

The Sindh government has imposed Section 144 in the south zone in anticipation of a protest as the provincial assembly is set to convene its preliminary session with the newly elected members.

The Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-e-Islami, and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam have announced plans to stage a protest outside the assembly building against alleged election rigging.

“… the Government of Sindh, in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 144 (6) Cr.PC, hereby imposes a ban on public assembly, gatherings, protests, processions, and demonstrations in South Zone Karachi Division for a period of 30 days with immediate effect,” stated the provincial government’s notification issued late Friday.

The image shows the notification issued by the Sindh government late Friday (Feb 23, 2024) for the promulgation of Section 144 around the Sindh Assembly building for a month.
The image shows the notification issued by the Sindh government late Friday (Feb 23, 2024) for the promulgation of Section 144 around the Sindh Assembly building for a month.

It further notifies, “In pursuance of Section 195 (i) (a) Cr.PC, the S.H.Os of the concerned Police Station are hereby authorized to register complaints under Section 188 PPC in writing for the violation of Section 144 Cr.P.C against the violators of this Notification.”

Meanwhile, Sindh’s interior minister, Brigadier (Retired) Haris Nawaz, said Section 144 is now in effect in the area around the building of the provincial assembly; hence, no marches or protests can be held nearby.

Nawaz stressed that strict security measures have been taken to protect the area around the assembly to ensure a law and order situation. The interior minister issued a stern warning, saying that strict legal actions await those who disrupt peace or engage in unlawful activities.

“Any troublemakers will face consequences,” Nawaz declared, calling for cooperation between the public, the police, and other law enforcement agencies.

According to a notification issued on February 22 by Sindh Governor Kamran Khan Tessori, the inaugural session of the provincial assembly will be held at 11 am today at the Sindh Assembly building where the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is all set to form the next government in the province for the record fourth consecutive term.

In the inaugural session, the newly-elected members will take an oath as lawmakers, and then they will elect the House’s speaker under the assembly rules.

As per the ECP’s results, PPP won the most provincial assembly seats (84) followed by MQM-P (28), while independent candidates bagged 14, GDA 2, and JI two seats in the February 8 polls in Sindh. Additionally, the PPP got 26 reserved seats for women and minorities, with the MQM-P being allocated eight reserved seats as per their strength in the assembly.

However, the PTI, JI, and GDA rejected the poll results and agreed to launch a “joint struggle” against the massive “rigging” in the recent elections held on Feb 8. They decided to stage province-wide protest demonstrations today when the inaugural session of the PA is being convened.

During a press conference in Karachi, key figures from various political parties joined forces against what they claim to be blatant irregularities in the elections and declared that they would not take an oath as lawmakers.

Addressing the media, GDA leader Safdar Abbas and PTI Sindh President Haleem Adil Sheikh asserted that the rights of six crore people of the province were violated. “If we are denied access to the assembly for staging the protest, we will explore alternatives,” he vowed.

Hafiz Naeem-ul-Rahman said that the MQM is a rejected party, stressing that votes were cast in favour of the PTI and Jamaat-e-Islami in the Feb 8 polls.

JUI-F leader Rashid Soomro also urges the workers from across the province to reach the assembly building this morning.

Terming the elections “anti-state,” the GDA had earlier announced that its two winning candidates would not take an oath as lawmakers. Setting an example, JI Emir Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman announced he would quit his provincial assembly seat, PS-129, from Karachi as the seat did not belong to him. He asserted that it was the PTI-backed candidate who had won the seat, and he did not want a “charity” seat.

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