Singapore`s 1st woman Speaker of Indian-origin

Last Updated: Monday, January 14, 2013 - 14:14

Singapore: Indian-origin politician Halimah Yacob scripted history on Monday by becoming the first woman Speaker of Singapore`s Parliament, replacing Michael Palmer who was forced to quit over his extra-marital affair.

She assumed charge at the start of the sitting of the House this afternoon, Channel News Asia reported.

58-year-old Halimah, an Indian-origin Muslim, resigned yesterday as Minister of State for Ministry of Social and Family Development.

She filled the position vacated by Palmer, former People`s Action Party MP who stepped down on December 12, 2012, over an extramarital affair.

Halimah was nominated by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to be elected as Speaker.

Halimah, a former labour lawyer and a mother of five, is a member of Parliament from the ruling People`s Action Party (PAP), having entered politics in 2001.

Hazara Shia leader Qayyum Changezi of the Unity Council
said the four-day sit-in had ended with the dissolution of the coalition government in Balochistan led by Chief Minister Aslam Raisani of PPP.

Preparations have started for burying the dead at a Hazara cemetery.
The Majlis Wahdat Muslimeen, a leading Shia body, announced it too would end its country-wide sit-in protests.

Changezi told thousands of people staging the sit-in at Alamdar Road that the demands of the Hazara Shias had been met by the government.

The sit-in in Quetta had sparked similar protests by Shia and civil society groups in towns and cities like Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi, Hyderabad, Lahore, Multan, Chakwal, Peshawar, Gilgit and Parachinar.
At all the places, the protesters had said they would remain on the roads till the dead were buried in Quetta.

In Karachi, a large number of Shias and civil society activists besieged the Bilawal House, the private residence of President Asif Ali Zardari.

They carried posters that read "All we demand is peace" and "Why Shia killing is not stopped?"

Angry protesters manhandled two provincial ministers last night.
During their meeting with the Premier in Quetta early this morning, Shia leaders said 1,100 Hazara Shias had been killed in terror attacks so far.

They said this was a large number in proportion to their small population of about five lakhs.

The Shia leaders said that no action was taken by authorities even when pilgrims travelling to Iran were pulled off buses and killed in Chief Minister Raisani`s hometown.

Raisani or other ministers never met the victims of terror attacks, they said.
The leaders alleged some provincial ministers were sheltering and backing target killers and militants.

The banned LeJ had claimed responsibility for Thursday`s attacks which targeted a crowded snooker club.

A suicide bomber blew himself up inside the club and a powerful car bomb went off minutes later, when journalists, policemen and rescue teams had gathered in the area.

PTI




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