LHC suspends de-notification order of 43 PTI MPs

From Abid Usman

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday suspended National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf’s acceptance of the resignations of 43 PTI lawmakers and put by-elections in 43 constituencies on hold.
The court order was pronounced by Justice Shahid Karim on a petition filed by PTI’s Riaz Fatyana and 42 other MNAs against the NA speaker’s acceptance of their resignations and the Election Commission of Pakistan’s de-notification orders. The ECP had de-notified 123 MNAs (including reserved seats), following the acceptance of resignations by the speaker. During the hearing today, PTI lawyer Ali Zafar contended that PTI MNAs had withdrawn their resignation before the NA speaker had accepted them.
“Once the resignations are retracted, the speaker has no power to accept them […] this shows that the acceptance of the resignations is against the law and based on malice,” he argued.
Zafar further said that the NA speaker’s order was contrary to the rules set by the Supreme Court, claiming that Ashraf had only accepted the resignation to take “political revenge”.
“He never called PTI MNAs and asked them their stance,” he pointed out and requested the court to declare the speaker’s order null and void.
Subsequently, the court suspended Ashraf’s decision and the ECP’s de-notification order.
Justice Karim also issued notices to the federal government and the electoral body and instructed them to submit their responses on the matter at the next hearing.