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ISLAMABAD: In a big blow to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, on Tuesday, accepted the resignations of the remaining 43 lawmakers of the party – ending all hopes for the party to become part of the consultation process for the appointment of caretaker prime minister in case of general elections.

The sources privy to the development told Business Recorder, that the NA speaker approved the resignations of the remaining 43 PTI MNAs and sent them to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), following which notifications will be issued.

Apart from the dissident PTI MNAs, only two members of the former ruling party remain in the Lower House.

The development comes a day after, 44 PTI MNAs requested to withdraw their resignations, out of whom, 43 members’ resignations were accepted.

The sources said that the resignations of 123 PTI MNAs have been accepted so far, whereas, the resignations of two members were not accepted due to their requests for leave. The electoral watchdog also received the resignations of PTI members and will decide on their de-notification any time soon.

The ECP will also contemplate whether to accept the former ruling party’s MNAs’ request to pardon them from de-notification. In a series of tweets, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry stated that the party had decided to return to the NA in limited numbers to remove opposition leader Raja Riaz; otherwise, this National Assembly had no representative status left for us to return to it.

“At present, the Shehbaz Sharif government has lost the support of 172 people and the government is depending on turncoats (dissident PTI MNAs) to save it,” he added.

He maintained that as a result of the speaker’s actions to save Raja Riaz, 40 percent of the National Assembly seats fell vacant and the country was inching closer to elections.

“The only solution to this crisis is general elections,” he stated, questioning how long the government would run away from elections.

He said that the people would have to decide and this decision would be made through voting.

Earlier, Fawad had said that the decision to withdraw NA resignations was taken so that the party could take back the posts of the opposition leader and parliamentary party leader.

He added that the aim of the move was to get rid of the “fake” NA opposition leader and prevent “turncoats” from voting for Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the vote of confidence.

A day go, 44 PTI MNAs sent emails to the NA speaker to withdraw their resignations after they were barred from meeting the NA speaker, while letters were also sent to the speaker.

The PTI MNAs protested outside the Parliament House as well as the residence of the NA speaker after they were denied entry to the parliament house.

“Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja personally received our application and we requested him that the ECP must play its constitutional role here,” said Amir Dogar of the PTI.

Flanked by Riaz Fatyana and other leaders, Dogar said the PTI delegation told the commissioner to treat the party’s decision justly and in the light of the constitution.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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