IHC takes up PTI MNAs plea on resignations

Lawmakers move court against NA speaker, ECP’s notifications


Our Correspondent October 06, 2022
Photo: File

ISLAMABAD:

Ten PTI MNAs on Wednesday moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf accepting only their resignations instead of those of all 123 party members of the lower house of parliament.

The 10 members, who include Shireen Mazari, Farrukh Habib and Ali Muhammad Khan, submitted their petition through their lawyer, PTI Senator Barrister Syed Ali Zafar.

They were subsequently de-seated by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which ordered holding of by-elections in their constituencies.

The petitioners contended that they had, as well as 113 other PTI MNAs, tendered their resignations en masse on the party’s directions so that the sitting government could be compelled to announce the date of fresh elections.

Barrister Zafar has taken a stand in the petition that the speaker had neither conducted any inquiry nor any verification from the petitioners as required by the Constitution.

He further stated in the petition that while accepting the resignations, the speaker had not followed the requirements of Article-64 as laid down by the country’s superior courts.

He added that the Supreme Court had held in various judgments that under Article-64, the speaker while receiving the resignation had a duty to ascertain personally whether or not it was signed by the MNA themselves, if it was voluntary and intended to act as one.

Read ECP challenges PIC decision in IHC

Unless these three requirements were satisfied and proven, the document could not be given an effect as a “resignation” under Article-64.

The petitioners have prayed that the notifications issued by the speaker and the ECP be declared illegal, without lawful authority and of no legal effect as they were in violation of the Constitution and the law as laid down by the Supreme Court.

They added that a recent audio leak of PML-N leaders backed their stance as they were, during a meeting, discussing taking approval from party supremo Nawaz Sharif for the acceptance of the resignations.

In fact, they added that the PML-N had not denied the audio clip and owned it during a news conference held on September 27.

The petitioners also submitted the record as well as the transcript of the audio clip to the court.

The 123 PTI MNAs had resigned on April 11 this year when Imran was being ousted through a no-confidence motion by the then united opposition and the incumbent ruling alliance.

However, the NA speaker had decided to accept the resignations in phases.

He has accepted the resignations of only a handful of PTI members so far.

The petition will be heard by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Thursday (today).

Earlier last month, the IHC had declared the acceptance of PTI lawmakers’ resignations by National Assembly’s former acting speaker Qasim Khan Suri as unconstitutional.

The court issued the orders while hearing a petition filed by PTI challenging the allegedly piece-meal acceptance of resignations by incumbent NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah had also rejected a plea by PTI counsel Faisal Chaudhry to process the case before a larger bench for hearing.

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