LHC seeks NA Speaker’s reply in resignation case

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday sought replies from National Assembly Speaker Raja Parvez Ashraf and other respondents on a matter related to acceptance of resignations of 43 PTI MNAs.
Justice Shahid Kareem heard the petition filed by 43 PTI leaders, including Riaz Fatyana, against the speaker for accepting their resignation without a due process.
They requested the judge to declare the notification issued by Mr Ashraf null and void. The court has directed the speaker to submit his reply till March 7.
The petition comes over a week after the high court suspended a move of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to denotify them as members of the National Assembly (MNAs).


The LHC had not suspended the speaker’s action to accept their resignations which had been submitted in April last following the ouster of PTI Chairman Imran Khan as prime minister through a no-confidence vote as the notification was not attached to the previous petition.
Following the suspension of the ECP notification, the PTI lawmakers, on Feb 9, tried to attend the National Assembly session but it was abruptly adjourned by the deputy speaker to thwart their bid.
Later, the speaker’s office issued a statement claiming that the LHC had upheld Mr Ashraf’s decision in its detailed verdict as his notification had not been suspended.

The detailed verdict dated Feb 10 stated that “the notification of the NA speaker on January 22 has not been attached (though challenged) and thus no interim relief can be considered to that extent.”

It added that the ECP notification will remain “suspended and the election schedule for the seats shall not be announced by the ECP”. “The process of by-elections to these shall remain suspended,” the verdict read.

On Feb 8, the LHC suspended an order issued by the ECP)to denotify 43 PTI leaders as MNAs. Justice Shahid Karim had announced the verdict on the petitions filed by the PTI lawmakers.

On Jan 24, Mr Ashraf accepted resignations of 43 more PTI lawmakers a day after they announced the withdrawal of their resignations in a bid to bar opposition leader Raja Riaz, a dissident PTI leader, from negotiating with the government on caretaker set-up in case general elections are announced. The move took the tally of PTI resignations approved by the speaker to 124 as he had approved 70 resignations earlier and 11 in August last. The resignations were submitted by the PTI MNAs in April last in protest against the ouster of Imran Khan as prime minister through a no-confidence vote.
The speaker accepted the resignations of Riaz Fatyana, Sardar Tariq Hussain, Mohammad Yaqub Sheikh, Murtaza Iqbal, Sardar Mohammad Khan Leghari, Zile Humma, Rukhsana Naveed, Ghazala Saifi, Nousheen Hamid, Sobia Kamal Khan and others.

Following the speaker’s decision, the electoral body denotified 43 MNAs of Imran-led party. The swift approval of the resignations came after Imran Khan-led party took a U-turn on resignations and announced its return to the assembly to put Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to test through a no-confidence vote. –Agencies