ECP de-notifies lawmakers with immediate effect; Development comes a day after Imran hinted at returning to NA
As power politics continues between the ruling and the opposition parties in the country, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Tuesday accepted the resignations of 35 members of the lower house of parliament belonging to the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
The development came following growing acrimony between the PTI and the Pakistan Muslim League-N-led government in the country.
Resignations of Hammad Azhar, Shafqat Mehmood, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Zartaj Gul, Ali Zaidi have also been accepted by the speaker.
It is pertinent to mention here that around 123 MNAs belonging to the PTI tendered their resignations en masse after Imran Khan’s government was ousted through a no-confidence motion In April last year.
Subsequently, the Election Commission of Pakistan de-notified the 35 MNAs belonging to the former ruling party.
According to a notification issued by the electoral authority, “Consequent upon the acceptance of resignations by the Hon’ble Speaker, National Assembly of Pakistan and in pursuance of the Notification No F.21 (4)/2022- lagis dated 17th January, 2023 of National Assembly of Pakistan. the Election Commission of Pakistan hereby de-notifies the Members of National Assembly of Pakistan with immediate effect.”
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.
Meanwhile, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Tariq Bashir Cheema, speaking to a news channel, said that only 35 resignations have been accepted and all will be accepted soon.
He said that the government beseeched Imran Khan for eight months, asking him to return to the National Assembly.
“If he wants to return to the National Assembly, he wants its dissolution. The ECP should be ready for the elections. Nawaz Sharif will soon return to Pakistan. He is not sitting there aimlessly,” he added.
The minister said that the government would complete its tenure. “There will be no early elections.”
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-N National Assembly members wanted to join the PTI.
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.
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 resignations.