SIC boycotts Punjab Assembly session as voting begins to elect chief minister

In a tumultuous Punjab Assembly session held on Monday to elect the Chief Minister, chaos ensued as members of the opposition Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) opted to boycott the proceedings. Presided over by newly-elected Punjab Assembly Speaker Malik Ahmad Khan, the session, commencing at 11:30 am, strictly focused on the election of the Chief Minister, with no allowance for lawmakers to address the assembly.

As Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) MPAs staged a walkout, Speaker Khan responded by forming a committee, comprising Khawaja Salman Rafique, Salman Nazeer, Samiullah, and Khalil Tahir Sindhu, tasked with persuading the legislators to return to the Assembly.

The political landscape featured PML-N Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif as the party's candidate for the Chief Minister position, pitted against Rana Aftab Ahmed of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC). Notably, in Sindh, PPP's Murad Ali Shah would contend with Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) candidate Ali Khurshidi.

In a last-minute decision, PTI named Rana Aftab Ahmed Khan as its new candidate for the post, prompted by the provincial police's attempt to apprehend its initial nominee, Mian Aslam Iqbal.

The numerical dynamics played a significant role, with the PML-N boasting a substantial number of candidates, contributing to the competitive nature of the election. The oath-taking ceremony, which occurred on Friday, saw 321 out of 371 members of the Punjab Assembly taking their oaths.

Given the clear majority enjoyed by PML-N and its allies in the House, the path seems unobstructed for Maryam Nawaz to secure the top position. A day earlier, PML-N secured victory in the Punjab Assembly speaker and deputy speaker elections, with Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan and Malik Zaheer Ahmed Channer elected to the respective positions, further solidifying the party's dominance in the assembly.

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