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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday issued notices to the speaker National Assembly, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), and others on a petition filed by the PTI against the acceptance of resignations of its lawmakers in the parliament in “piecemeal”.

A single bench of Acting Chief Justice Amir Farooq on Thursday heard PTI Central Secretary General Asad Umar’s petition to direct the ECP to declare all the resignations as accepted, to de-notify all the PTI MNAs and declare the seats as vacant.

Advocate Faisal Chaudhry informed the bench that former deputy speaker NA Qasim Suri on April 11 had accepted the resignations of all the PTI parliamentarians. He then submitted Suri’s April 13 order and the letters of all the 123 MNAs.

The then deputy speaker order stated: “I have received the resignations of 125 members of National Assembly belonging to the PTI as earlier announced in the house by Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, deputy parliamentary leader, PTI, on April 11, 2022.”

“I have perused all the resignations and reached the conclusion that all of them except the resignation of Prince Muhammad Nawaz Allai, NA-12 and Jawaid Hussain, NA-47, are voluntary and genuine,” it said. The order added that Suri had accepted these resignations and ordered to notify the same in the Gazette.

After hearing the arguments, Justice Amir Farooq issued notices to Speaker NA Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, the ECP, and the secretary Cabinet Division. He also instructed the NA secretary to produce all the records in court through an authorised officer and adjourned the hearing till August 16.

The petition stated that the parliamentary committee of his party had decided to resign from NA collectively as it wanted to get a fresh mandate but the resignations were being accepted on the basis of pick and choose.

It maintained that the speaker National Assembly had no authority to keep the matter of resignations pending. Therefore, the petitioner prayed before the court to direct the ECP to de-notify all MNAs of the PTI and declare the seats as vacant.

The petition stated that the present speaker National Assembly had no “lawful authority or jurisdiction” to conduct the process of verification of the resignations of 123 PTI MNAs as they had already been accepted by the then deputy speaker, Suri.

“Hence, the impugned act of the present speaker is unsustainable being illegal, unconstitutional, unwarranted, malafide, discriminatory, and politically motivated.” Raja Pervez Ashraf was “bound to notify” the resignations “en bloc” to the ECP, it added.

All the PTI lawmakers, on April 11, had resigned en masse, two days after former Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted from the top office after the no-confidence motion moved by the joint opposition in the parliament against him succeeded.

Raja Pervaiz Ashraf after assuming the charge of Speaker NA decided to verify the resignations of the 123 PTI lawmakers, by calling them individually or in small groups. However, on July 27, he accepted the resignations of 11 lawmakers of the party. Ali Muhammad Khan, Fazal Muhammad Khan, Shaukat Ali, Fakhar Zaman Khan, Farrukh Habib, Jamil Ahmed Khan, Muhammad Akram Cheema, Abdul Shakoor Shad, Dr Shireen Mazari, Shandana Gulzar Khan, and Ijaz Ahmed Shah are the MNAs who have been de-notified from their seats.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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