PTI leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Monday that the party had written a letter to National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf seeking the acceptance of the remaining resignations of PTI lawmakers.
The PTI, which saw the ouster of its chief Imran Khan as the premier through a no-confidence vote in April, had announced it was resigning en masse from the NA just hours before then-opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif was to take oath as the country’s new chief executive.
Then-NA deputy speaker Qasim Suri, in the capacity of the house’ acting speaker, had subsequently accepted the resignations of 123 PTI MNAs. However, the incumbent speaker later decided to verify the resignations and eventually accepted the resignations of just 11 lawmakers on July 27.
The PTI had first challenged the move in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on August 1, contesting that it was “unsustainable”. The IHC, however, had dismissed the petition on September 6 and declared that the acceptance of PTI lawmakers’ resignations by Suri was unconstitutional.
The party then approached the Supreme Court, praying it to set aside the IHC order, terming it “vague, cursory, and against the law”. A decision on the PTI’s plea in the apex court is still pending.
Meanwhile, Speaker Ashraf earlier this week said that he would not be accepting the resignations of any lawmakers from the PTI unless he was sure they weren’t tendered under any pressure.
Subsequently, in an address to the nation on Wednesday, Imran revealed that PTI lawmakers had decided to go to the NA and demand the acceptance of their resignations from the speaker.
Addressing the matter in a media talk today, Qureshi — who was flanked by PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry — said that even though the resignations had been accepted by Suri earlier, the orders had not yet been implemented.
The former foreign minister lambasted the incumbent NA speaker for being “selective” in accepting the resignations of only 11 MNAs in an “illegal manner”.
Qureshi accused Ashraf of using his office as custodian of the House for “partisan reasons” and to provide “political advantage” to the incumbent coalition government by not accepting all the resignations.
He went on to highlight that his party was adamant about its decision to dissolve the assemblies.
“We have already made our decision. We will bring it into action,” he said. “Imran Khan gave me a letter. I’m signing it as the vice chairman of the PTI and sending it to the speaker.”
The said letter, a copy of which is available with Us, states that PTI leaders have requested a meeting with the National Assembly speaker next week to “reconfirm” their resignations.
“We could agree on a time with you during the next week and reconfirm resignations tendered by our members. We hope that you will not seek to delay this matter any further,” the letter said.
“It remains unclear on what legal basis could your office selectively de-seat some of the National Assembly members instead of all the members,” it added.
“The public’s verdict in the favour of PTI became very evident in these by-elections whereby the party won 75 per cent of the by-election seat,” the letter stated.
During the media talk today, Chaudhry clarified that PTI MNAs stopped receiving their salaries after April.
His comment comes a day after the top court, during a hearing of a petition challenging the National Accountability Bureau’s new amendments, expressed shock over PTI lawmakers drawing salaries but not holding their seats in the lower house.
Responding to these remarks, the PTI leader said that “government representatives stated incorrect facts in the Supreme Court” and urged for the matter to be thoroughly checked by relevant authorities.
“We should get this checked. We never know what if the government leaders are receiving those salaries and using them on their foreign trips,” he said.
The former minister also said that the party had officially written a letter to the National Assembly speaker only for the Supreme Court’s satisfaction.
Chaudhry said the Election Commission of Pakistan was not accepting the resignations because they were “literally a subsidiary of PML-N”.
“The assemblies will be dissolved. Imran Khan will announce on the Dec 17,” he said. “It could be the 17th or Dec 23. Imran Khan will decide and then 70 per cent of the country will move towards elections,” he asserted.
Chaudhry further said the PTI was trying for the country to move towards general elections under a national framework.