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PTI decides to join Parliament after seven-month boycott

Updated April 05, 2015

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"We will join he assemblies and play the role of a true opposition," says Imran Khan. AFP/File
"We will join he assemblies and play the role of a true opposition," says Imran Khan. AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Sunday decided to join parliament after almost seven months of absence from the National Assembly and provincial assemblies of Punjab and Sindh.

Speaking to reporters after emerging from a huddle with the parties core policy makers, PTI Chairman Imran Khan said, "We have decided to attend the joint session of Parliament tomorrow. The Yemen issue is very important... I will attend myself and present my party's point of view."

The PTI Central Executive Committee (CEC) met today to discuss the party's fate in the national and provincial assemblies after the government granted its demand of a judicial commission to probe alleged rigging in the May 2013 general elections.

"Pakistan is already paying the price for being involved in someone else’s war," he added, reiterating his earlier stance that Pakistan should not involve itself in the Yemen conflict despite Saudi Arabia's pressure to do so.

Read: PTI’s litmus test lies before election tribunal, not in resignations

Later, Khan touched upon his party's participation in the national and provincial assemblies. "We will join the assemblies and play the role of a true opposition."

He harked back to the reasons behind his call for PTI MNA's resignations. "Why did we march from Lahore on August 14?" he asked, referring to his protracted anti-government campaign launched last year in August to demand an investigation into alleged election fraud.

"Now the decision for the formation of the judicial commission has come," he said. He also explained that the CEC members debated whether the party should wait to join the assemblies until the commission was actually formed, as opposed to the current status of the promulgation of the ordinance.

Read: Editorial on PTI's resignation from Assembly

He said that the joint session on Yemen — which the prime minister has summoned tomorrow (Monday) to discuss Pakistan's role in the Middle East situation — was a major factor behind the decision to re-join Parliament.

Earlier, PTI MNA Dr. Azhar Jadoon told Dawn.com that the CEC of the party collectively agreed on the decision to join the parliament.

Jadoon said that a majority of PTI lawmakers were in favour of returning to the National Assembly after promulgation of the ordinance as they believe that major demand of PTI has been met regarding the Judicial Commission to probe the allegations of the rigging in the general elections of May 2013.

“Some MNA’s of the PTI also opposed the decision of the CEC as they believe that the party should wait until the actual formation of the commission because only an ordinance has been promulgated until now,” the PTI MNA added.

PTI announced on August 18 last year that it would boycott the national and provincial assembles as all other options of relief against alleged election rigging were exhausted.

With the PTI out of the assembly, NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq — the same successful candidate who’s constituency Khan alleges was rigged in the election — was under pressure to end the impasse swiftly and amicably.

Sadiq was caught between making a decision on the already-submitted PTI resignations and acceding to requests to delay their acceptance, so that a political solution could be negotiated.

Ultimately, the speaker maintained that unless he could personally verify each member’s intent to resign -- as stipulated in Rule 43(2) B of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of the National Assembly, 2007 -- he would not proceed.

Later, Sadiq informed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that he was unable to confirm the “genuineness” of the resignations submitted by legislators belonging to the PTI.

“I am directed to further inform you that in spite of our consistent efforts, the members of the PTI whose resignations were received in this secretariat have avoided to come forward to verify the genuineness and voluntary nature of their resignations,” said a letter sent by the speaker to the ECP end October last year.