The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday removed the registrar office’s objection to a plea against the acceptance of resignations of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) members from the National Assembly seats by Speaker Raja Pervaiz Asharaf.
Justice Shahid Karim heard the case.
The court had fixed two petitions for setting aside the order of the speaker on the resignations and the notification of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that declared those seats vacant for further hearing.
Earlier, the registrar office raised an objection to petitions, saying that that the matter was related to parliament, therefore, it could not be taken up in the courts. Arguing before the LHC bench, Barrister Ali Zafar, counsel for the petitioners, argued that the courts could hear such a matter.
In the petition filed through Barrister Zafar, 43 MNAs, including Riaz Khan Fatyana, contended that the resignations were subject to the acceptance of all the 123 members, who had tendered their resignations on the instructions of party chief Imran Khan in April last year.
The petitioners requested the court to issue directions to the quarters concerned to declare that the petitioners had withdrawn their resignations by conduct, words and in writing in accordance with law, prior to any acceptance.
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They submitted that after the withdrawal of their resignation, the speaker could not issue any notification regarding acceptance of the resignations, therefore, the notifications issued by the speaker and subsequently by the ECP were “illegal” and “unlawful”.
Soon after the removal of then Prime Minister Imran Khan through a no-confidence motion in April last year, letters of resignation were obtained from 123 MNAs, including the petitioners, and then submitted accordingly, according to the petition.
The petitioners said they acted on the directions of the party chief and for the political objective of arriving at an agreement for holding fresh elections in the country so that a new government could be formed with the true mandate of the people of Pakistan.
The then acting speaker – deputy speaker Qasim Suri – accepted all the resignations but after that the new speaker, Ashraf, directed the assembly secretariat to resubmit those resignations for their confirmation from each MNA individually.
After that, the speaker called them, the petitioners said, but they did not appear for verification and as a result, their resignations were not accepted. Later, neither they went to the speaker nor he called them for verification and the status quo continued.
Later on, the petitioners said, the speaker in violation of the law and his own ruling, accepted some resignations – first 11 on July 28, 35 resignations in the second phase and 35 more in the third.
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The petitioners said that they went to meet the speaker but were not allowed to meet him. Besides they staged a sit-in in the ministers’ enclave but to no avail. After that, the speaker accepted 43 more resignations, without calling any MNA individually for the verification process.
The petitioners contended that the actions of the speaker and the ECP were “illegal” and “unlawful”. They requested the court to declare that the petitioners had withdrawn their resignation by conduct, words and in writing in accordance with law prior to any acceptance of their resignations.
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