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Tuesday June 25, 2024

PTI MNAs to be called in one by one for resignation verification: NA speaker

NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf meets Asad Qaiser-led PTI delegation to discuss MNAs' resignations

By Haider Sherazi & Waqar Satti & Web Desk
December 29, 2022
NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf (centre) heads meeting with PTI delegation. — Twitter/@NAofPakistan
NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf (centre) heads meeting with PTI delegation. — Twitter/@NAofPakistan

A decision over the resignations of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNAs will be made in line with the rules of the National Assembly (NA) and Constitution of Pakistan, National Assembly (NA) Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said Thursday in a meeting with an Asad-Qaiser-led delegation of the political party. 

Former NA speaker Asad Qaiser led a delegation of PTI leaders in a meeting with Ashraf at Parliament House to discuss the verification of resignations amid talks of PTI's possible return to the assembly.

The PTI delegation included PTI leaders Qasim Suri, Amir Dogar, Dr Shabbir Hussain, Ataullah, Fahim Khan and Tahir Iqbal.

NA Speaker Ashraf received the PTI delegation upon their arrival at Parliament House.

During the meeting, Ashraf said that "in politics, doors are not closed; there should be links between politicians". 

He said that all the PTI lawmakers will be summoned individually. 

'Speaker responsible to make sure MNAs aren't under pressure'

Ashraf, in conversation with the media after meeting with the PTI delegation, said that they met in a very "pleasant environment".

NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf. — Screengrab
NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf. — Screengrab

Sharing details of the meeting, Ashraf said that the delegation members asked him to accept the resignations of 127 PTI members en masse.

"However, I told them that there are some rules and regulations and limitations [regarding the approval of resignations]," he said.

Article 64 of the Constitution requires a handwritten resignation by a lawmaker, which must be verified by the NA speaker by summoning the relevant MNA in person.

"The speaker has the responsibility to make sure that the [resigning] MNAs are not under pressure," he added.

Ashraf further stated that he told the PTI delegation to return to Parliament.

Ashraf said that some of the MNAs even approached the courts, contending that they didn't tender the resignations, some applied for leaves and some used to leave after marking attendance in the assembly.

Moving on to the party positions, the NA speaker said that it is a completely different matter if a party maintains a political stance.

Qaiser demands approval of resignations for remaining MNAs

Meanwhile, former NA speaker Qaiser said that the government wants to escape from elections that is why the resignations of PTI MNAs are not being accepted.

Former NA speaker Asad Qaiser (centre) addressing media. — Screengrab
Former NA speaker Asad Qaiser (centre) addressing media. — Screengrab 

He said that all the MNAs were standing with PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi while tendering the resignations.

"Same happened in the case of Javed Hashmi. They are restricting the resignations and failing to run the country," Qaiser said while speaking to media after the meeting. 

Amir Dogar requests NA speaker to meet PTI delegation

The meeting was arranged after PTI's former chief whip Amir Dogar's request to Ashraf to hold talks over the matter of resignations. Ashraf welcomed the meeting, saying that dialogues are the only solution in a parliamentary democracy.

However, Ashraf added that the verification of PTI lawmakers' resignation would still be subject to one-by-one meetings.

On Wednesday, the NA speaker had said that the PTI delegation did not come to meet him and asked for a meeting today at 11:30am.

"Dogar told me that some of the PTI leaders wanted to meet me regarding their resignations; however, I told him that I would meet all of them separately and not in groups," added Ashraf.

On Wednesday, Shah Mehmood Qureshi said they are willing to play a role in Parliament, but the government is not ready to commit seriously.

The PTI leader made the remarks while reacting to Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari's statement against PTI chief Imran Khan.

Bilawal, addressing a gathering in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh held to mark the 15th death anniversary of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, asked the PTI chief to return to parliament as neither he nor his party “could bear” what’s coming to them.

The PTI MNAs had resigned en masse after PTI Chairman Imran Khan was voted out from the prime minister's office in April and have yet to return to the House.