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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Saturday approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking suspension of the by-election schedule of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for nine general seats of the National Assembly (NA).

Advocate Faisal Chaudhry on submitted that the PTI’s main petition for acceptance of all party MNA resignations was pending adjudication before the IHC. Acting Chief Justice Amir Farooq on August 4, in another petition of the PTI against the acceptance of resignations of its lawmakers “piecemeal”, had issued notices to Speaker NA Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, ECP, and the secretary Cabinet Division. He instructed the NA secretary to produce all the records in the court through an authorised officer.

The petition said the issuance of the election schedule despite the court taking notice of the prior petition was a “deliberate and malicious effort” to defeat the PTI’s cause and the respondents were bound to follow and defer to the court’s order.

The petition further stated that if the election schedule was not suspended, it would cause “irreparable loss” to the PTI and defeat the cause of the previous petition pending adjudication.

NA by-polls: Imran to contest from nine constituencies

Raja Pervaiz Ashraf upon assuming the charge of speaker NA in April this year 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.

In the earlier petition, the PTI explained that the parliamentary committee of his party had decided to resign from the 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 vacant.

By-elections on 9 NA seats vacated by PTI to be held on Sept 25

The petition also 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 then deputy speaker Qasim 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.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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