Govt ready to welcome PTI back in NA: Rana

25

Says no caretaker talks before August

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Monday said that the government will “welcome back” PTI MNAs to the National Assembly if they were to return but maintained that any discussion over a caretaker setup can be held only once the mandated tenure of the government expires in August.

Sanaullah, while talking to a news channel regarding Imran’s comments, said: “Of course, we will welcome them [back] into the assembly as even when they were leaving, we had said it was an undemocratic decision.”

The interior minister asserted, “They (PTI MNAs) will have to withdraw their resignations for returning [to the National Assembly] […] and will have to come and sit in the assembly.”

He said that Imran will also have to submit a request to the speaker to become the leader of the opposition. Sanaullah reiterated the federal government’s stance of holding general elections upon the expiry of its full five-year term. “When the tenure of the assemblies would end on Aug 16, 2023, he (Imran) will be part of the consultation as the leader of the opposition and then the decision of the caretaker would be made.”

While Imran’s remarks regarding the PTI’s potential return to the National Assembly were in the context of discussing the caretaker setup, Fawad Chaudhry later clarified that the party’s return was linked with its plan to oust Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

When asked if the PTI has definitively decided to return to the National Assembly, he said, “the party aims to oust Shehbaz Sharif as the prime minister”.

He said the party was seeking legal opinion on how it could bind its MNAs to vote as per party policy in case of a no-trust move, and if that can be achieved without joining the assembly. It is pertinent to mention that while a bulk of the PTI MNAs had quit the parliament in April on Imran’s calls, a handful of dissidents, including opposition leader Riaz and Noor Alam Khan, had remained.

“We will take the decision [to return to the NA based on the advice],” Fawad said.