Pakistan: NA speaker accepts resignations of 35 PTI MNAs


National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf has accepted the resignations of 35 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers, Express News reported on Tuesday.

As many as 123 lawmakers resigned en masse from the lower house of parliament following the ouster of PTI chief Imran Khan in April last year.

The development came a day after PTI chief and former prime minister Imran Khan hinted at returning to the National Assembly for consultation with the treasury benches “on an interim set-up to be installed after the dissolution” of the lower house of parliament.

Speaking to a select group of journalists in Lahore on Monday, Imran foresaw the next general elections taking place in the country in two to three months. Without their presence, he added, the government would be consulting the current Opposition Leader in the National Assembly, Raja Riaz, about the caretaker government.

He underscored that “the PTI has now decided” to give a tough time to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and promised that “he [Shehbaz Sharif] will have sleepless nights in the days to come”. He claimed that some Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) National Assembly members wanted to join the PTI.

“Some of the PM-N members of the National Assembly are in contact with the PTI and they have expressed their interest in joining our camp. We will test them before giving them the party membership,” Imran said, adding that he saw elections taking place in March or April.

The members whose resignations have been accepted include Murad Saeed, Umar Ayub, Asad Qaiser, Parvez Khattak, Imran Khattak, Shehryar Afridi, Qasim Suri, Najeeb Haroon, Aslam Khan, Aftab Jahangir, Attaullah, Aftab Hussain Siddiqui, Ali Haider Zaidi, Alamgir Khan, Saifur Rehman, Faheem Khan, Zartaj Gul, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Malik Amir Dogar, Shafqat Mehmood, Hammad Azhar, Sanaullah Mastikhel, Fawad Ahmed, Mansoor Hayat and others.

Similarly, the resignations of Alia Hamza Malik and Kanwal Shuzab, who were elected from reserve seats, have also been accepted.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has also de-notified the lawmakers from their seats.

Last month, the National Assembly had announced a clear policy regarding the confirmation of resignations of the PTI members, according to which, every party MNA had to personally confirm his resignation.

The NA spokesperson had said the PTI’s request for joint appearance and confirmation of resignations from their respective seats is being heard once again, adding that a reply was sent to the letter sent by PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi on December 22.

The PTI MNAs, according to the contents of the NA letter, will be called to confirm the resignations and each member will have to confirm his resignation in person.

The NA Secretariat said that there was “no way” the resignations of the PTI lawmakers could be verified collectively, which had been pending with the speaker despite a lapse of several months and repeated requests from the party leadership to accept them.

One hundred and twenty-three PTI MNAs had resigned en masse on April 11 two days after party Chairman Imran Khan was ousted as the prime minister through a no-confidence motion.

However, on April 17, the newly elected NA Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf directed the assembly secretariat to deal with the resignations of the PTI lawmakers afresh and present them before him so that they could be treated as per law.

Last year in June, the ruling coalition had formulated a strategy on the matter of en masse resignations of the PTI lawmakers from the assembly and agreed to proceed with phase-wise acceptance, following which, the NA speaker proceeded to accept 11 of the 123