PTI moves IHC over slow progress in NA resignations

Asad Umar says ECP acting like a 'political party', pressurises the electoral watchdog to accept resignations

Our Correspondent August 01, 2022
Former Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar addressing media on Feb 22, 2022. SCREENGRAB


The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Monday challenged the phase-wise acceptance of resignations of its members of the National Assembly (MNA) in the Islamabad High Court.

PTI leader Asad Umar filed an official petition against the NA speaker over the slow progress in the acceptance of the party’s MNAs’ resignations.

Speaking to the media on the occasion, the former minister said that the PTI was “going to file a major reference against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)” as he alleged that the commission had itself “become a political party, which is unacceptable to us”.

“The NA speaker has no authority to block the resignations,” he lamented, pleading that “after three and a half months, 11 resignations were cherry-picked”.

Protesting the “spectacle” that had been made of the matter, Umar said that on April 11, 125 of the PTI’s MNAs had stated on the floor of the House that they had resigned, and “on April 13, [then] deputy speaker Qasim Suri accepted the resignations. [Then] what authority did the ECP have not to accept all the resignations for three months?” he questioned while standing outside the court.

It is pertinent to note that Suri, in his capacity as the acting speaker, on April 13 had accepted the resignations of 123 PTI MNAs, who had accepted their party chairman Imran Khan’s appeal after his removal from the office of the prime minister through a no-confidence motion earlier in April.

However, on April 17, the newly elected NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf directed the assembly secretariat to deal with the resignations of the PTI lawmakers afresh and present them before him so that they could be treated as per law.

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The ruling of the 22nd speaker of the assembly had come amid claims and speculations that some of the PTI lawmakers had been willing to retract and have been conveying messages that their resignations should not be accepted.

Later on, in June, the ruling coalition had formulated a strategy on the matter of en masse resignation of PTI lawmakers from the National Assembly and agreed to proceed with phase-wise acceptance.

Meanwhile, parliamentary sources had disclosed that about 30 members of the former ruling party did not want to resign from the legislature and added that these lawmakers can directly reach out to the NA speaker to stop the acceptance of their resignations.

Nonetheless, the second phase of processing the PTI resignations is to begin this week. In this regard, the speaker of the National Assembly Raja Pervez Ashraf will take a decision today after further consultation with the ruling coalition along with legal and constitutional experts.

Sources say that there is a strong possibility that the resignation of 11 PTI members belonging to the districts of South Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa will be accepted by the speaker.

Furthermore, the resignations of members from Malakund and Layyah are also planned to be accepted along with the resignations of some women members on special seats.

However, the resignations of PTI central leadership, including Imran Khan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, Murad Saeed have not been accepted yet.


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