Imran may take oath as Pak PM on I-Day

Earlier, PTI chief’s swearing-in was scheduled for August 11

Islamabad : Imran Khan, who is set to become Pakistan’s new Prime Minister, may take oath of the office on the country’s Independence Day on August 14, a media report said on Saturday.

Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) emerged as the single largest party in the July 25 elections, winning 116 National Assembly seats out of the contested 270 parliamentary constituencies.

Earlier on July 30, Khan, 65, had expressed his desire to take the oath of Prime Minister on August 11, as his party announced that it had acquired enough seats in the Lower House through coalition talks to form a majority government.

“It is my and caretaker prime minister retired Justice Nasirul Mulk’s desire that the oath-taking of the new prime minister should take place on August 14,” caretaker Law Minister Ali Zafar told Dawn on Friday.

Unveiling a tentative schedule of the National Assembly formation, the minister said the Election Commission (EC) was already on board as it was engaged in making necessary arrangements required to hold the prime minister’s election on the desired date.

Zafar said a fresh session of the assembly could be called on August on 11 or 12. “If it is held on August 11, the election of the prime minister can take place on August 14 and on the same day President Mamnoon Hussain can administer the oath to the new Prime Minister,” he added.

Zafar elaborated if the National Assembly (NA) session was held on August 11, the same day the new members would be administered the oath.

He said after printing of ballot papers for the elections of the NA speaker and deputy speaker, their elections could take place on August 13 and the next day the election of the prime minister could be held.

However, if the National Assembly session was called on August 12, the election of the prime minister would be held on August 15, he added. “We wanted the new Prime Minister should take his oath on Independence Day so the new government can start its functioning with full national fervour and commitment to bring progress to the country,” he said.

Meanwhile, successful candidates of the July 25 general elections had to submit returns of their election expenses on Saturday — the deadline fixed by the ECP for filing of returns — and a notification will be issued the following working day.

Three days will be given to Independent candidates if they want to join any party. Similarly, three days will be spent on seats reserved for women and minorities.

The caretaker law minister told the media that as per the Constitution, the first session of the National Assembly would have to be summoned within 21 days after the General Election. It was necessary to fulfil this obligation by August 15.

After election, the newly-elected Prime Minister would take the oath and the job of the caretaker Prime Minister and his cabinet would be over and power would be transferred to the new government under constitutional provisions.

The minister said the EC was completing legal formalities, including consolidation of elections results, and collection of returns of election expenditures from the wining candidates.

The EC after giving time to Independents to join a political party or stay Independent would issue parties position in the assembly, Zafar said, adding after that the comisssion would issue a list of winning candidates on reserved seat for women and minorities.

1.67 mn votes rejected as ballots marked

Islamabad: A total of 1.67 million votes cast across Pakistan in the 2018 general election were rejected, which was 11.7 per cent more than that of the 1.5 million ballots discarded in the 2013 polls, an independent election watchdog report said.

A ballot is rejected from the count if it does not clearly show which candidate has been marked by the voter or more than one candidate have been marked. As per the Election Commission, there were over 100 million registered voters but only about 51 per cent exercised their franchises.

Red Corner notices sought against jailed Nawaz Sharif’s sons

Islamabad: Pakistan approached Interpol for issuing Red Corner Notices against former premier Nawaz Sharif’s sons Hasan and Hussain, the media reported on Saturday.

The jailed leader’s sons were declared proclaimed offenders by an accounta­bility court after they failed to appear despite repea­ted orders to face all the three graft references — against them and their father — in line with the Supreme Court’s July 2017 verdict in the Panama Papers case. Hasan and Hussain already have permanent arrest warrants issued against them in Pakistan.

The decision to issue Red Corner Notices was taken after anti-corruption body, National Accountability Bureau chairman Javed Iqbal had asked the Interior Ministry to initiate the process of bringing back the two, currently living in London to take care of ailing mother Kulsoom, the Express Tribune reported.

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