ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) through social media released the notification of the National Assembly (NA) Secretariat on Thursday, stating that 123 party MNAs had “resigned from their seats by writing under their hand” to the speaker.

The notification signed by NA Secretary Tahir Hussain has declared that after submission of the resignations their seats have become vacant in terms of Article 64(1) of the Constitution with effect from April 11.

The NA Secretariat officials are, however, tightlipped over the development.

The notification containing the names of 123 MNAs was released by former minister of state for information Farrukh Habib through his Twitter account, stating that after acceptance of the resignations of 123 MNAs, fresh elections in the country had become imminent. A copy of the order passed by Acting Speaker Qasim Suri, whose name is not in the list of 123 MNAs, has also been released to the media.

NA secretariat issues notification declaring seats vacant

“I have perused all the resignations and reached to the conclusion that all of them, except the resignation of Prince Mohammad Nawaz Allai (NA-12) and Jawwad Hussain (NA-47), are given voluntarily and are genuine,” says the order passed by Mr Suri, who has been working as the acting speaker after the resignation of Asad Qaiser from the speaker’s office on April 10.

“I accept these 123 resignations and order to notify the same in the gazette,” reads the order issued by Mr Suri.

The list of the resigned MNAs contains the names of 94 MNAs who were elected through direct elections on general seats and 25 women and four minority MNAs who had been nominated on reserved seats. If the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) also declared these seats vacant after receiving the acting speaker’s order then it will have to conduct by-elections on 94 seats within 60 days of its own notification.

Meanwhile, PTI chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan through his official social media account on Twitter thanked 123 MNAs, whose resignations were accepted by Mr Suri.

“I am grateful to my 123 MNAs whose resignations were accepted by (Acting) Speaker Qasim Suri today. It stands firm with an independent Pakistan against a change of government, the ultimate defeat for a self-respecting free nation, at the behest of the US to bring to power criminals, convicted and (those) on bail,” tweeted Mr Khan.

There are a total of 155 PTI MNAs in the present assembly and 20 of them have already been expelled from the party for joining hands with the previous joint opposition. Prominent among those 12 MNAs, whose names are not in the list of 123 resigned MNAs, are Riaz Fatiana, Mohammadmian Soomro and Rai Murtaza Iqbal.

Mr Fatiana, however, in a statement claimed that they had also sent their resignations to the acting speaker.

Meanwhile, PTI chairman Imran Khan has reportedly written a letter to the ECP, saying that no member of the PTI should be nominated to any committee as the party lawmakers had already tendered their resignations from the lower house of the parliament on April 11.

“In the wake of foreign intervention into internal affairs of Pakistan and the events and circumstances related thereto, PTI decided not to be the part of the ultra-constitutional exercise of regime change and formation of an imported government,” he wrote in the letter, submitted by Babar Awan.

Mr Khan has pointed out that there was no representative of the PTI in the National Assembly, while defectors had already been proceeded against under Article 63-A of the Constitution.

“I hereby withdraw all names given in the list to this commission in priority on women as well as minority seats. I, therefore, declare that PTI will not be a party to any proceedings, steps or action taken on its behalf on any forum and will outrightly reject any/all efforts to use the name of the PTI.”

Addressing a news conference on Wednesday, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Sherry Rehman and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Ayaz Sadiq had accused Mr Suri of pressuring the NA Secretariat into sending resignations of the PTI MNAs to the ECP without meeting constitutional obligations.

The two parties — now in government — claimed that Mr Suri had committed violation of the Constitution by approving the resignations without listening to them in person.

Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2022

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