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NA speaker yet to receive LHC order amid PTI's bid to return to assembly

NA Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf says decision regarding entry of members would be made after "thoroughly" reading order

By Haider Sherazi & Waqar Satti
February 09, 2023
NA Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf is pictured while heading an NA session. — APP/File
NA Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf is pictured while heading an NA session. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: While Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) plans to return to the National Assembly, the custodian of the House, Raja Pervez Ashraf, on Thursday said that he has yet to receive the Lahore High Court's (LHC) order that stayed the de-notification of 43 MNAs of the former ruling party.

In a major blow to the federal government, the LHC suspended the Election Commission of Pakistan's (ECP) order to de-notify 43 lawmakers of PTI, the last to get their resignations accepted by NA Speaker Ashraf.

"Any verdict of the LHC or any order hasn't been received. Neither is it in front of us, nor have we been able to read it or received any detail of it," Ashraf said.

He said that once they receive the verdict, it would be thoroughly read and then a decision regarding the entry of the members would be made.

Meanwhile, sources in the National Assembly said the secretariat was consulting its legal team on the order.

PTI's U-turn

Earlier, sources had told Geo News that the 43 PTI MNAs had decided to visit Parliament House today on the directions of party chief Imran Khan and after receiving the court orders.

The lawmakers had arrived in Islamabad today as per the PTI chief’s direction.

However, after the speaker's comments the lawmakers changed their plans and decided to go to the Parliament lodges instead.

PTI lawmaker Nusrat Wahid, one of the 43 lawmakers, said that they cannot go to the assembly till they get a written court order.

"Right now the best policy is to wait for the court order. We are soldiers of Imran Khan and try not to do anything illegal," said Wahid.

The resignation saga

The PTI lawmakers had tendered their resignations en masse after the Imran Khan-led government was ousted via a no-confidence motion in April of last year.

The PTI had claimed resignations were accepted by former deputy speaker Qasim Suri in absence of a speaker after Asad Qaiser's resignation.

Speaker Ashraf, after his election, approved the resignations of 11 PTI lawmakers in July 2022. He had stalled the process stating the remaining lawmakers would be summoned individually for verification.

However, contrary to his stance, he quickened the process once PTI in January announced its return to the assembly and "test" the PM through a confidence vote.

The PTI resignations were accepted by NA Speaker Ashraf in four stages: 11 in the first phase, 35, 34, and 43 in the second, third, and fourth phases, respectively.

ECP has so far announced by-elections on 33, and 31 constituencies on March 16 and March 19, respectively. However, the by-polls on the 43 constituencies were yet to be announced.