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35 resignations: NA speaker’s move takes Imran by surprise

January 19, 2023

ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf surprised PTI Chairman Imran Khan and his aides by announcing that he had accepted the resignations of 35 MNAs of PTI.

The PTI sources present in Zaman Park Lahore confided to ‘The News’ that Imran wondered how his aides failed to know about the speaker’s decision beforehand.

Imran Khan was likely to ask President Arif Alvi for asking Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to seek trust vote, failing which fresh election of the Leader of House/Prime Minister was to take place.

The PTI leaders expected that about a dozen members siding with the government wouldn’t turn up for voting. Imran had planned, and had given a clear-cut hint about it three days ago, to get his nominee elected as prime minister who would then dissolve the National Assembly, paving the way for general elections.

This correspondent approached PTI’s second-in-command of the PTI Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Imran’s chief of staff Senator Shibli Faraz on Wednesday evening for their comments over the episode but they didn’t respond.

Meanwhile, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, who consulted the PDM leadership, including Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Asif Ali Zardari, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Rana Sanaullah Khan, kept the whole strategy step so secret that even the senior staff members of the Speaker’s secretariat learnt about it only when they received the notification of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for de-notifying the PTI members on Tuesday late afternoon, the sources added.