PML-N MNAs refuse to ‘own’ resignations

Say unaware how the resignations reached the NA Secretariat


Saqib Virk December 31, 2020

ISLAMABAD:

In a surprise move, the two lawmakers of the PML-N on Wednesday refused to take “ownership” of their resignations and denied their authentication before the speaker of the lower house stating that they had dispatched their resignations to the party leadership and were incognisant how they reached the National Assembly Secretariat.

In a written statement, both the legislators urged the National Assembly (NA) speaker not to accept their resignations.

NA Speaker Asad Qaiser also hinted at conducting a forensic audit of the resignations.

Last week, the National Assembly Secretariat had summoned Muhammad Sajjad (NA-14) and Murtaza Javed Abassi (NA-15), to finalise a date for appearing before the NA speaker for the confirmation of their resignations.

According to the NA Secretariat, two separate letters were dispatched to both the parliamentarians to contact the NA Secretariat in person within seven days so that the date for their appearance before the speaker could be finalised.

“They have been further informed that if they fail to respond, it would be construed that they have nothing to say and their resignations would be accepted as per rules,” the official statement read.

Through the letters, both the MNAs were told that their resignations from the seats of National Assembly on their official letter heads were received on December 14, 2020 and their signatures were found genuine as per record of the NA Secretariat.

On Wednesday, both the lawmakers adopted the stance that they had sent their resignations to their PML-N leadership and not to the NA Secretariat and asked the lower house speaker not to accept them.

They expressed surprise how the resignations had reached the NA Secretariat.

Meanwhile, talking to media, Qaiser confirmed the development saying that both the parliamentarians had denied the authentication of their resignations in a meeting with the assembly secretary.

The NA speaker maintained that he would give his opinion on the issue on Thursday (today) and a decision on the matter would be taken keeping in view its legal aspect.

Earlier, in a statement issued, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz had urged the lawmakers to ask the NA speaker to accept their resignations.

On Tuesday, the government had decided to adopt an aggressive strategy vis-à-vis the resignation of two PML-N lawmakers.

In a meeting with the NA speaker, Prime Minister Imran Khan directed him to uphold parliamentary traditions regarding the resignations, saying the speaker had the full authority to decide on the matter.

It was decided that if the lawmakers did not contact the National Assembly Secretariat within seven days, their resignations would be accepted. The speaker said that neither he would budge under any pressure nor could he be intimidated or blackmailed.

The PDM – an 11-party opposition alliance – with the avowed aim to dislodge the PTI government on December 14 had announced that all lawmakers from the opposition parties would submit their resignations from the assembly seats to their respective party leadership by December 31. It also set a deadline for the government to quit by January 31.

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