Court ‘upholds’ NA speaker’s decision on resignations of PTI MNAs

In a major blow to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the Lahore High Court (LHC) reportedly upheld the decision made by National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf regarding the resignations of the party’s lawmakers, according to a statement issued by the speaker’s office on Friday.

The NA speaker on January 24 accepted the resignations of 43 MNAs of the PTI, a day after the PTI announced the decision to withdraw the resignations.

On February 3, the lawmakers moved the LHC, requesting it to set aside the Election Commission of Pakistan’s notifications removing them from their NA seats.

A copy of the LHC’s verdict has been received by the speaker’s office, claimed an official, adding that the court refused to suspend the ECP’s notification and barred the authorities from conducting by-polls in the constituencies until completion of the proceedings of the case.

“No interim relief can be granted against the decision of the speaker,” the speaker's office said quoting the verdict. A copy of the speaker's January 22 notification has not been enclosed with the application, it added.

The LHC’s verdict proved Ashraf’s stance on the resignations as “correct”, read the statement issued by the speaker’s office. All the matters were decided by looking at the constitutional and legal aspects, it added.

Although, the NA speaker invited the PTI’s lawmakers to appear before him repeatedly the MNAs turned a deaf ear to the calls and raised objections when he accepted their resignations, which was unconstitutional.

In the petition, Muhammad Riaz Khan Fatyana and 42 other lawmakers said that their resignations were subject to the acceptance of all the 123 PTI MNAs, who had resigned en masse from the lower house of Parliament on April 11 last year — two days after party Chairman Imran Khan was ousted as the prime minister.

The petitioners have sought directions to quarters concerned to declare that they had withdrawn their resignations by conduct, words, and in writing in accordance with the law prior to any acceptance. They pleaded that the Speaker cannot direct issuance of any notification after the withdrawal of their resignations.

The notifications issued by the NA speaker and the ECP are “illegal and unlawful” and the court is requested to set them aside, the petitioners contend. The court was also requested that the notifications remain suspended until the final decision of this petition is announced.

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