ISLAMABAD: Before leaving for an official visit to the Caribbean on Wednesday, National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza accepted the resignations of six MNAs who have joined the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI).According to a notification issued by the National Assembly Secretariat, the speaker has accepted the resignations with effect from the dates on which the members had submitted them.
Those whose resignations have been accepted are former foreign minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Nawabzada Mohammad Khan Hoti, Jahangir Khan Tareen, former PML-N stalwart Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, his daughter Maimoona Hashmi and Sardar Aseff Ahmed Ali.
Mr Qureshi resigned from his National Assembly seat from Multan (NA-148) and the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) on Nov 15, before joining the PTI.
Former minister Nawabzada Hoti, who had won the 2008 elections from Mardan (NA-9) on the ticket of Awami National Party (ANP), announced his decision to quit both the party and the assembly on Dec 16.
Jahangir Tareen, a minister in the military regime of Gen Pervez Musharraf, had won his assembly seat from Rahimyar Khan (NA-195) on a Pakistan Muslim League-F ticket. He submitted his resignation on Dec 21.
Mr Hashmi and Maimoona Hashmi submitted their resignations to the assembly secretary during the session on Dec 29. Sardar Aseff also sent his resignation to the secretariat the same day.
Mr Hashmi had become MNA from Multan (NA-149), Sardar Aseff from Kasur (NA-140) and Maimoona Hashmi on a reserved seat for women.
The speaker left for Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, to attend the 21st Conference of the Speakers and Presiding Officers of Commonwealth Countries. The conference will begin on Jan 7 and continue till the 12th.
It was after a successful public meeting held by PTI chief Imran Khan in Lahore on Oct 30, last year, and Mr Qureshi's announcement about joining the party a few days later that a number of prominent personalities and political heavyweights, including sitting legislators, from almost all the major parties started joining him.
A source in the PTI said it had been decided that Awais Leghari, an MNA from Dera Ghazi Khan, would not quit his seat and he was ready to face a notice or reference by the PML-Q leadership.
BY-ELECTION: The Election Commission has announced that by-election for a Sindh Assembly seat from Badin will be held on Feb 15. According to the schedule, candidates are required to submit nomination papers by Jan 13, the last date for withdrawal of the papers is Jan 24 and the final list of candidates will be displayed on Jan 25. The PS-57 seat fell vacant after Dr Zulfiqar Mirza quit the assembly in August last year. He had won the seat by securing 33,111 votes in 2008.
Political experts are of the opinion that the by-election has great significance because the decision of the Pakistan People's Party leadership to award the party ticket can have an effect on the political situation in the province, particularly its relationship with its coalition partner Muttahida Qaumi Movement and nationalist parties.
Sources in the PPP told Dawn that President Asif Ali Zardari had discussed the matter with his advisers more than once after Dr Fehmida Mirza, spouse of Dr Zulfiqar Mirza, showed her interest in fielding their son Hasnain Mirza in the by-election.
The experts believe that if the PPP declines to give the party ticket to Hasnain Mirza, it will be considered disowning the speaker who has been winning the National Assembly seat from Badin since 1997.
Despite her husband's continuous media outbursts against the MQM and some senior PPP members, Dr Fehmida Mirza has not spoken a word on the subject.
Similarly, it is believed that allocating the ticket to Dr Zulfiqar Mirza's son will strengthen a perception that the former homer minister had the backing of President Zardari in his actions.