Islamabad: The newly elected parliament of Pakistan meets for the first time on Monday to start the transition process and transfer power to the new government.
President Mamnoon Hussain has convened the first session of the National Assembly, the lower house, at 10 am in the Parliament building. By law, the previous Assembly spokesman, Ayaz Sadiq, will swear the new legislators, followed by the election of the speaker and deputy speaker. After the election of the new speaker, the outgoing speaker will take the oath and hand over the new house.
Prime Minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was the largest single-party party with 1
The party is still 14 by the simple majority of 172 in the House of 342. But it has support from several smaller parties and it is expected that at least 180 MPs in the election for the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and the Prime Minister get supported.
PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said the party had already appointed Khan Prime Minister and Asad Qaisar spokesman. The party candidate said the cabinet list is not ready yet, but there is general consensus that Shah Mahmood Qureshi will be the new foreign minister and Pervez Khattak the interior minister. Asad Umar is expected to hold the key position of finance minister and Khan is also expected to appoint prominent businessman Abdul Razzak Dawood as financial advisor. Dawood served in the Cabinet of former military dictator Pervez Musharraf
Chaudhry said PTI had decided to invite the chairman of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) Shehbaz Sharif and the chairman of the PPP, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, as Prime Minister. It is not clear if they will attend the ceremony which will take place in the Presidential House on 18 August.
There are reports that President Hussain has canceled his three-day trip to Ireland to swear the oath to the new prime minister. Meanwhile, the leaders of PML-N and PPP met in Lahore to decide their strategy for the first session. The two parties have decided to appoint joint candidates for the post of spokesman, deputy speaker and prime minister.
The PML-N has a final figure of 82 seats after the addition of 18 reserved seats, including 16 for women and two for Muslims and PPPs have 53 seats with 11 additional seats, nine for women and two for non-Muslims.
Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) now has 15 seats after adding three reserved seats, two for women, and one for non-Muslims. The combined strength of the major opposition parties will be at least 150.
The actual strength of the PTI is reduced to 152 because Khan has won five seats, but has to vacate four seats before taking the oath. Two more PTI leaders won two seats each and will vacate the extra seats. This means that the total strength of the house will be reduced from 342 to 336 after the seats have been cleared.
A PTI ally, Pervez Elahi of the Pakistan Muslim League will also vacate his seats in the National Assembly after deciding on the meeting in Punjab. While the elections were not held in two seats, the outcome of a seat was delayed by litigation The final strength of the house will continue to decline to 331. Therefore, a winning candidate will require the assistance of 166 lawmakers instead of 172 means that the PTI still needs support from 14 minority party members and common opposition needs 16.
On paper, the PTI is expected to be smaller due to the open support of several Parties end the day with a slight edge, but still a tough competition is expected for the top posts of the speaker and the prime minister. These parties include Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) with seven seats, Baluchistan Awami Party (BAP) with five, Baluchistan National Party (BNP) with four, Pakistan Muslim League (PML) with three, Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) with three and The Awami Muslim League and the Jamori Watan Party each have one.
Nevertheless, the PTI will be heavily dependent on the smaller parties, and their government can be at their mercy.
As far as provincial assemblies are concerned, PTI is the leader in Punjab with 179 seats in the House of 371, but so far it has not announced its candidate for a ministerial candidate. Several leaders are reported to be searching for the coveted seat, which ranks second after the PM.
In Sindh, PPP with 97 seats leads in the house of 168, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, PTI is in sight majority with 84 seats in the house of 124, while Balochistan Awami party has and expects 20 seats in the majority in the house of 65 in Baluchistan is to form the government with the support of PTI and other parties.