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Friday June 21, 2024

NA speaker rules out PTI's return to parliament

In April last year, PTI lawmakers resigned en masse from NA after Imran Khan was ousted from power

By Haider Sherazi
February 27, 2023
National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf (centre) speaks to PTI leaders during a meeting in Islamabad on February 27, 2023. — Twitter/@NAofPakistan
National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf (centre) speaks to PTI leaders during a meeting in Islamabad on February 27, 2023. — Twitter/@NAofPakistan

ISLAMABAD: As the resignations of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) former lawmakers have been accepted, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf Monday told the party's leaders that they could not return to the lower house.

A PTI delegation — led by Amir Dogar and including  Kanwal Shauzab, Sajida Begum, Aamer Mehmood Kiani, Amjad Niazi, and others — met the NA speaker at his office in Islamabad.

In a statement, the NA Secretariat mentioned that the PTI leaders spoke to the speaker about their resignations and demanded Ashraf revoke his decision to accept them.

But undeterred, the speaker said that he had accepted the resignations in line with the rules and regulations, the Constitution, and the law of the land.

"I sent out letters repeatedly, but no member from the PTI presented themself before me. After delegations headed by Amir Dogar and Asad Qaiser met me, I started accepting the resignations," he said.

The speaker explained that the delegation headed by Qaiser — which held a meeting with him in December last year — had asked that the PTI's resignations be accepted.

"Since it was their request, I am bound by the Constitution [to follow through]," he said. But Ashraf added that in line with the PTI's latest request, he would consult with his legal team and inform the party.

In April last year, the party's lawmakers resigned en masse from the NA after PTI Chairman Imran Khan was ousted from power through a no-confidence motion.

At first, the resignations of only 11 MNAs were accepted by NA speaker Raja Parvez Ashraf. However, on January 17 and January 20, the resignations of 34 and 35 more PTI MNAs were accepted respectively.

Several MNAs then withdrew their resignations and requested the speaker not to accept them. However, on January 25, the NA speaker accepted the last batch of resignations.

Subsequently, the 43 MNAs took their grievance to the Lahore High Court (LHC), which on February 8 suspended the ECP's orders.

Later, several other PTI MNAs approached the LHC for similar relief. The court, however, only instructed the ECP to suspend the denotification of PTI MNAs from Punjab.

The electoral body last Friday — in line with the LHC's order — suspended its denotification announcement of 32 PTI MNAs. Moreover, it also halted the by-polls in those constituencies.