Lahore: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday sought answers from National Assembly Speaker Raja Parvez Ashraf and other respondents on matters related to accepting the resignation of 43 PTI MNAs.
Justice Shahid Kareem heard the petition of 43 PTI leaders, including Riaz Fatyana, against the Speaker’s acceptance of resignation without due process. They asked the judge to declare the notice issued by Mr Ashraf null and void. The court has given the speaker until March 7 to submit an answer.
The petition comes a week after the High Court suspended the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from appointing them as members of the National Assembly (MNA).
The LHC did not suspend the speaker’s move to accept the resignation, which was submitted in April last year after PTI chairman Imran Khan ousted the prime minister through a no-confidence vote, as the notice was not attached to the previous petition.
PTI lawmakers tried to attend the National Assembly session on February 9 after the ECP notification was suspended, but the deputy speaker abruptly adjourned it to thwart their bid.
Later, the Speaker’s Office issued a statement saying the LHC in its detailed judgment had upheld Mr Ashraf’s decision as his notice had not been suspended.
“The Speaker’s notice of January 22 has not yet been attached (though challenged) and interim relief cannot therefore be considered to this extent,” the detailed judgment, dated February 10, said.
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 the resignations of 43 other PTI lawmakers after announcing they were withdrawing their resignations to stop dissident PTI leader Raja Riaz, the opposition leader, from negotiating with the government on the caretaker setup, Just in case a general election is announced. The move brings the total number of PTI resignations approved by the Speaker to 124, as he earlier approved 70 resignations and 11 in August last year. PTI MNA submitted its resignation in April last year in protest of Imran Khan’s ouster as prime minister through a vote of no confidence.