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Delay in Oath-taking Sparks Legal Action in KP Assembly

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Members of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly elected on reserved seats have petitioned the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to postpone the Senate elections until they are sworn in. A five-member bench, led by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, listened to the plea filed by the newly-elected women and minority MPAs regarding the delay in taking their oaths.

During the hearing in Islamabad, the complainants’ counsel emphasized that the ECP had issued notifications for the female members on March 4, indicating that the KP Assembly speaker should have administered their oaths promptly. The counsel argued that the speaker was obligated by the constitution and law to convene a session for the oath-taking ceremony.

The ECP questioned the legality of instructing the KP Assembly speaker and inquired why the newly-elected MPAs had not been sworn in yet. The KP Assembly secretary clarified that while the speaker did not refuse to administer the oaths, the governor’s decision to convene the session was deemed “illegitimate.”The assembly secretary mentioned that legal clarification was being sought regarding the governor’s authority to call a session without a summary. He assured that the MPAs-elect would be sworn in once the assembly session is convened.

In response to concerns about the ECP’s authority over the speaker, it was clarified that the commission’s responsibility includes overseeing elections and ensuring the oath-taking process post-elections. The ECP reserved its verdict after considering the arguments presented.

Additionally, the opposition parties in the KP Assembly have approached the Peshawar High Court (PHC) to address the delay in oath-taking for members on reserved seats. The petition, filed by PML-N, PPP, and JUI-F members, seeks the court’s intervention to ensure timely oath-taking for the elected members to participate in the upcoming Senate elections.

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