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Maryam Nawaz set to become first woman CM of Pakistan's Punjab provincial assembly

Out of five assemblies in Pakistan that went to the polls on February 8, the Punjab Assembly is the first house convening its opening session.
Last Updated 22 February 2024, 13:47 IST

Lahore: Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif, is set to become the first woman chief minister of Pakistan's Punjab province following the summoning of the inaugural session of the provincial legislature on Friday.

Out of five assemblies in Pakistan that went to the polls on February 8, the Punjab Assembly is the first house convening its opening session.

“Punjab Governor Balighur Rahman has called the Punjab Assembly session for Friday, in which newly elected members of the assembly will swear in and formation of the new government will begin,” a spokesperson for the Governor's House said on Thursday.

Maryam, 50, is also senior vice president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party. She is considered to be the political heir of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, who surprisingly nominated his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif as his party's prime ministerial candidate.

The PML-N has nominated Maryam as the chief ministerial candidate of the party in Punjab, a province of over 120 million people.

The PML-N won 137 seats while independents backed by former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) won 113 in the Punjab Assembly. Separately, 20-odd independents, not PTI-backed, have already joined the PML-N.

The PTI-backed independent candidates have joined the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) to get reserved seats for women and minorities besides saving their elected members from being forced to change their loyalty by the military establishment.

However, the SIC may not get reserved seats for women and minorities, leaving the PML-N with a simple majority in Punjab.

“The Election Commission of Pakistan is likely to notify allocation of reserved seats in the Provincial Assembly on Thursday. The SIC is unlikely to get its share amid legal questions as its head himself had not contested on his party ticket and the deadline to submit a list of candidates for reserved seats has passed,” an official source told Press Trust of India here.

Punjab Assembly’s outgoing Speaker Sibtain Khan said since the PTI-backed MPAs-elect have joined the SIC, the party should be allocated reserved seats. “A constitutional crisis will follow if the reserved seats of SIC/PTI are given to other parties,” the speaker said.

Meanwhile, Maryam has already been given security usually provided to the chief minister and she is holding meetings with the top bureaucracy of the province.

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(Published 22 February 2024, 13:47 IST)

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