PESHAWAR / ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has stopped his party’s lawmakers from appearing before National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf for confirmation of resignations.

“We have already resigned and an announcement [in this regard] was made on the floor of the National Assembly, there is no need to go there [to the house] for confirmation of resignations,” Mr Khan said while speaking to digital media practitioners on Tuesday.

Returning to the assembly would give an impression that the PTI had accepted “the imported government”, he said, asserting that no member should go to the assembly individually.

The NA speaker earlier decided to start verification of the resignations of 131 PTI and Awami Muslim League (AML) members from June 6 to confirm if they all are ‘voluntary’ and ‘genuine’. According to sources in the assembly secretariat, most of the resignations, printed on PTI’s letterhead, had the same text whereas the signatures of some members did not match those on the assembly’s roll.

Says party will fully participate in Punjab by-polls on July 20

Mr Khan told the digital media influencers that the PTI would fully participate in Punjab by-polls on July 20 in the constituencies that fell vacant after the ECP de-seated the MPAs for their desertion during the CM election.

In the next general election, he said, his party would emerge victorious with a two-thirds majority and get a bigger share of seats in Sindh.

Dispelling the impression of any deal for cutting short his protest at D-Chowk on May 25, he said he had to withdraw from the protest venue to prevent bloodshed in Islamabad and announced that the PTI would move the SC on Wednesday to seek protection for the ‘right to peaceful protest’.

He claimed that the PTI government was under “immense pressure from certain quarters to recognise Israel”. “A message was conveyed to me to think for the benefit of your country,” he said, adding that he would not disclose where did the message come from.

About the appointment of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman, Mr Khan said it was better to abolish the anti-graft watchdog rather than appointing a new chairman with the consultation of Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Raja Riaz.

Separately, addressing a joint presser with ex-minister Hammad Azhar in Islamabad, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said government dignitaries had made 17 foreign trips in just 40 days, despite the financial crunch that the country had been facing.

Mr Chaudhry said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif left on his sixth foreign trip, whereas tens of millions of rupees had been spent on the 17 foreign trips made by ministers. He said Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari initially went to the UAE, then the US. He recalled that Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel went to Geneva, Sherry Rehman also made two to three foreign trips. Shazia Marri had also gone abroad, he recounted.

Also, Prime Minister Sharif had declared five camp offices, which would be run from exchequer, he said.

The ex-minister said the Haj operation was decided during the PTI tenure, yet its charges were initially increased and then rental agreements of buildings were renegotiated.

Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2022

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