LAHORE : Raja Parvez Ashraf, the speaker of the National Assembly, and other respondents were asked to answer to the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday on the acceptance of the resignations of 43 PTI MNAs.
Riaz Fatyana was one of 43 PTI leaders who filed a suit with Judge Shahid Kareem accusing the speaker of accepting their resignations without following the proper procedures.
They asked the court to deem Mr. Ashraf’s notice to be invalid. The speaker has until March 7 to provide his response, under the court’s order.
The suit was filed more than a week after the high court temporarily halted an attempt by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to decertify them as National Assembly members (MNAs).
Due to the notice not being attached to the prior appeal, the LHC did not postpone the speaker’s decision to accept their resignations, which were tendered in April of last year after PTI Chairman Imran Khan was removed as prime minister by a no-confidence vote.
The PTI legislators attempted to join the National Assembly session on February 9 after the suspension of the ECP notice, but it was suddenly postponed by the deputy speaker to foil their attempt.
In a later statement, the speaker’s office claimed that since Mr. Ashraf’s notice had not been stopped, the LHC had supported his judgement.
The notification of the NA speaker from January 22 “has not been attached (albeit contested) and no temporary remedy can be contemplated to that extent,” according to the full judgement of February 10.
The ECP notice would continue to be “suspended,” and the ECP will not issue the election timetable for the seats, it was noted. The decision said that “the by-election procedure to these must be postponed.”
On February 8, the LHC temporarily overturned an ECP decision to decertify 43 PTI leaders as MNAs. The decision on the PTI MPs’ petitions was announced by Judge Shahid Karim.
In an effort to prevent opposition leader Raja Riaz, a dissident PTI leader, from negotiating with the government on caretaker set-up in the event that general elections are called, Mr. Ashraf accepted the resignations of 43 more PTI lawmakers on January 24, one day after they announced the withdrawal of their resignations. The speaker had already granted 70 resignations and 11 in August of last year, bringing the total number of PTI resignations he had authorised to 124. The PTI MNAs presented their resignations in April of last year in opposition to Imran Khan’s being removed as prime minister by a vote of no confidence.
PTI MNAs hold a sit-in outside the speaker’s home to call off resignations.
Riaz Fatyana, Sardar Tariq Hussain, Mohammad Yaqub Sheikh, Murtaza Iqbal, Sardar Mohammad Khan Leghari, Zile Humma, Rukhsana Naveed, Ghazala Saifi, Nousheen Hamid, Sobia Kamal Khan, and others submitted their resignations, which were accepted by the speaker.
The speaker’s decision resulted in the denotification of 43 MNAs from the Imran-led party by the electoral authority. The quick clearance of the resignations came after the Imran Khan-led party declared its return to the parliament to challenge Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in a vote of no-confidence and reversed course on resignations.