The Sindh High Court on Tuesday issued notices to the Election Commission of Pakistan, the Speaker of the National Assembly and others on a petition filed by former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MNAs from Karachi against theacceptance of their resignations by the NA Speaker and the holding of by-elections on the vacant seats.
The court however turned down the PTI counsel’s request for suspending the operation of the ECP notification for the holding of by-elections on March 16. Nine former PTI MNAs, including Faheem Khan, submitted that the notification for the holding of the by-elections on March 16 should be set aside and the seats of the PTI MNAs restored as there was illegality in the acceptance of their resignations.
They submitted that the Lahore High Court had already stopped the decision to accept the resignations of the members of the National Assembly of the Tehreek-e-Insaf, and all their seats in the assembly have been restored; besides, the court had stayed the by-elections for the National Assembly constituencies on the vacant seats.
PTI counsel Shahab Imam argued that that act of the NA Speaker with regard to the acceptance of the resignations of the PTI lawmakers from Karachi was illegal. He said that there was a legal way of accepting resignations, which could not be acted upon and the NA Speaker’s malice was clear from his act as a puppet opposition leader was currently sitting in the National Assembly.
He said the PTI had challenged the Speaker’s notification to the ECP and the high court had rightly suspended the operation of holding of the by-elections. The counsel submitted that the Constitution and the Supreme Court had already elaborated on the criteria with regard to the resignation of the NA member, and unless such criteria were not met by the NA Speaker, then the resignation cannot be given effect as a resignation under Article 64 of the Constitution.
The court was requested to declare that the acceptance of the resignations of 35 MNAs of the PTI by the NA Speaker was in violation of the Constitution and law settled by the Supreme Court and to suspend the operation of the ECP for holding the by-elections in 35 constituencies in light of the Lahore High Court orders.
An SHC division bench comprising Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M Sheikh and Justice Yousuf Ali Sayeed, after the preliminary hearing of the petition, issued notices to the ECP, the NA Speaker and others and called their comments on March 21, turning down the request for the suspension of the operation of by-elections scheduled to be held on March 16.