'Pakistani MPs' oath taking marks historic transition'

Islamabad, June 3 (IANS) The oath taking by newly elected members of the National Assembly "sets the seal on the historic transition" from one civilian government to another, said a Pakistani daily Monday.

As many as 301 of the 323 newly elected members of the National Assembly (NA) took oath Saturday. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh assemblies have already done this while 345 members did the same in the Punjab Assembly and 56 in the Balochistan Assembly.

"This completion of the first phase of the process of completing parliament sets the seal on the historic transition for the first time in the country's history from one elected government that completed its term to a new elected government," said an editorial in the Daily Times.

The May 11 elections "have by and large been accepted as credible if not always wholly transparent or even fair".

"...the people and the parliamentarians deserve applause, particularly since the threats of the terrorists failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the electorate. While many new voters entered the fray, especially those who have only just achieved maturity, about 100 new faces or first timers were visible in the 14th NA in its inaugural session."

The daily broached upon the subject of multiple seat holders in the National and provincial Assemblies who now have to "surrender their extra seats by June 10 (and it) raises the question why our electoral system allows candidates to stand from more than one constituency".

"...Multiple seat victories that have then to be trimmed down to one indicate that the winning candidates were never serious about representing the voters of the surrendered seats, often not even being acquainted with them or their problems. The incoming government should seriously consider doing away with this anomaly, which will now require new elections on the 28 National and provincial Assembly seats surrendered, in favour of single constituency elections for all candidates," it added.

The editorial observed that while the incoming government led by two-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to be pro-business, "the weight of expectations from the new government can only be met if it focuses on the serious problems of the underprivileged, marginalised and poverty-stricken".

"Nawaz Sharif should not lose sight of the fact that this is the majority of our people."

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