PDM ‘not to contest’ by-polls on 35 NA seats lost by PTI, AML

Rana Sanaullah arrest

‘Imran Khan to contest by-polls on all 35 NA seats’

Pakistan Muslim League-N senior leader and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Tuesday said his party would not contest the by-elections on the 35 National Assembly seats that fell vacant as the Election Commission of Pakistan de-notified the lawmakers after Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf accepted their resignation.

He reiterated that the government would complete its constitutional term that would end in August 2023. The minister said that the speaker took the decision as the PTI lawmakers did not appear before him in person despite being invited multiple times for verification of their resignations.

On a query, the minister said that postponement of by-elections in Punjab was not out of the question but they should prepare for the polls.

Reacting to the development, Pakistan Democratic Movement President and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F Chief Maulana Fazl Ur Rehman said that the ruling alliance would not contest by-polls on the vacant seats.

Reasons for not contesting the election will also be unveiled soon, he added.

PTI leader Hammad Azhar said that as per the Constitution, the authority should accept either all the resignations or none of them. He accused Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja of “serving Sharifs”.

“Now let’s see if the judiciary protects the Constitution or not,” he added.

Reacting to the coalition government’s move, PTI Senior Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry thanked Speaker Pervaiz Ashraf for accepting the resignations of his party’s lawmakers.

PTI Secretary General Asad Umar said that his party’s Chairman Imran Khan would contest by-elections on all the 35 vacant NA seats.

Reacting to the PDM’s decision, the PTI leader claimed, “whether the ruling alliance participate or not, Khan will win all the seats”.

The government took the decision as it feared the PTI would return to the National Assembly, he added. “PM Shehbaz Sharif will have to take trust vote whether we 35 MNAs are in the assembly or not,” Umar said.

Stressing the speaker to accept the resignations of all the PTI MNAs, he said that those lawmakers whose resignations have not been accepted yet would return to the assembly.