National Assembly session: Speaker’s office raises issue of absent PTI MPs

Identifies nine lawmakers who have not attended sessions for 40 days

Azam Khan January 14, 2015
A file photo of a National Assembly session. PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: The office of the National Assembly speaker on Tuesday named five more lawmakers of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) who have been absent from the house for the last 40 days without prior notice. The PTI lawmakers had resigned from the National Assembly in August but their resignations have been pending confirmation since.

During Monday’s proceedings, Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed, who was chairing the session in absence of Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, identified four absenting PTI MPs. On Tuesday, he announced five more names – including that of PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi – which have been put on the watch-list for their continued absence.

Interestingly, Imran Khan’s name is missing from the list. According to an official of the National Assembly Secretariat, the speaker has received a leave application from a PTI member on behalf of Imran. “The speaker has never informed the house about the status of the PTI chief’s membership,” the official added.

He said the speaker was deliberately delaying announcement about Imran’s status mainly because of the ongoing controversy over the audit of NA-122 – a constituency where Speaker Ayaz Sadiq had defeated the PTI chief in the 2013 polls. The official further said that the PTI members have been withdrawing their salaries.

Sources claimed that the government wanted to build pressure on the PTI and it could suspend membership of a few PTI lawmakers in a next few weeks ahead of the Senate elections scheduled for March.

On Tuesday, Leader of Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah made it clear that the PPP was avoiding pointing out the absence of the PTI members so they could return to the house. However, the issue has already been pointed out by Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s JUI-F – an ally of the federal government – which on Monday asked the speaker to de-seat the PTI chief for remaining absent for more than 40 days.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2015.


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