Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Mian Mehmoodur Rashid said on Sunday Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) members would not attend the assembly session starting on Monday (today).
Rashid was speaking to The Express Tribune a day before the session.
“We have decided that we will not be part of the session beginning on Monday afternoon. We have submitted our resignations but it seems the government is not interested in accepting them,” he said.
Rashid said the decision to stay away from the assembly had been made by the party leadership.
Rashid had said on Thursday the decision to attend the session would be made at the joint parliamentary party meeting of National and Provincial Assemblies.
PTI MPAs had submitted their resignations to the assembly secretary in August in protest against what they called the rigged elections of 2013.
The PTI has 30 seats in the provincial assembly. Initially, Jehanzeb Khan Khichi and Nighat Intesar had not tendered their resignations. However, Khichi had later submitted his resignation leaving behind one pending resignation from Intesar who according to party sources was out of the country.
Some Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders have criticised PTI members for benefitting from the privileges reserved for MPAs. In their defence, Rashid said their resignations had not been accepted yet. He also defended his claim to the office of leader of opposition despite having submitting his resignation. “We are eligible to such privileges until our resignations are accepted.”
Rashid said all the PTI MPAs should be called together to verify their resignations. “We should be called together by the speaker for the purpose,” he said.
He said that currently PTI members were being called individually for the verification.
“This is being done in the hope of splitting the party. They want to split us, create divisions and put pressure on our MPAs to reconsider their resignations.
These tactics will not work. We will not tolerate this. The decision to resign was made with a consensus in the party,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2014.