PESHAWAR: The speaker of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly has stepped in to save his fellow members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) from being booted out of the National Assembly.
The PTI lawmakers had resigned en masse on August 22 last year, terming the Nawaz Sharif-led government “illegal” because of alleged massive irregularities during the May 2013 general elections. The Imran Khan-led party made a comeback in the lower house of parliament on April 6 after seven months on the sidelines after the premier accepted its demand of judicial investigation of the allegations.
The PTI’s return to parliament during the joint parliamentary session to discuss the ongoing Yemen issue drew a scathing response first from the defence minister and then from several opposition parties, which submitted an application to the National Assembly speaker to unseat the PTI legislators.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam -Fazl (JUI-F) submitted the motions seeking the expulsion of PTI lawmakers for remaining absent for more than 40 consecutive days.
On Monday, K-P Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser wrote a letter to the National Assembly speaker calling his attention to the unseating pleas, asking Sardar Ayaz Sadiq to reconsider the motions “in the best interest of public and parliamentary institutions”.
The applications were submitted under Article 64(2) of the Constitution and Rule 44(1) of the Procedure and Conduct of Business in National Assembly. Under Rule 44(1), if an assembly member is absent without leave for 40 consecutive days, the speaker shall notify the assembly members and any member may move to unseat the absentee under Clause (2) of Article 64.
In his letter, K-P Speaker Qaiser argues the move is belated and it may leave an impression of partiality on Ayaz Sadiq’s status and set a bad precedent.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2015.
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