The PTI filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday against National Assembly (NA) Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for “staging the drama” of accepting the resignations of only 11 party lawmakers when the entire party had resigned months ago.
All the PTI lawmakers had resigned en masse on April 11, two days after former prime minister Imran Khan was ousted from the top office after the no-confidence motion moved by the joint opposition in the parliament against him succeeded.
Ali Muhammad Khan, Fazal Muhammad Khan, Shaukat Ali, Fakhar Zaman Khan, Farrukh Habib, Jamil Ahmed Khan, Muhammad Akram Cheema, Abdul Shakoor Shad, Dr Shireen Mazari, Shandana Gulzar Khan and Ijaz Ahmed Shah are the lawmakers whose resignations had been accepted.
The petition filed today, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, stated that the present speaker of the NA had no “lawful authority or jurisdiction” to conduct the process of verification of the resignations of 123 PTI MNAs as they had already been accepted by then speaker Qasim Suri.
“Hence, the impugned act of the present speaker is unsustainable being illegal, unconstitutional, unwarranted, malafide, discriminatory, and politically motivated.”
It said that Ashraf was “bound to notify” the resignations “en bloc” to the ECP.
The petition said the ECP should be directed to “denotify all the 123 members at once and the same time instead of doing it in a piecemeal manner” and “issue the time schedule for the by-elections”.
Due to the delay in holding the polls, the petitioner as well as the constituents, were being deprived of their constitutional rights to participate in the governance of the country, the petition added.
Later in the evening, PTI’s plea was accepted for hearing and been fixed for Tuesday (August 2). It will be heard by Justice Aamer Farooq.
‘ECP not an independent institution anymore’
Separately, talking to media outside court earlier today, PTI general-secretary Asad Umar alleged that the ECP was no longer an “independent institution” and had become a “political respondent”.
“In April, our parliamentary leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi had announced in the assembly that all the 123 PTI MNAs wanted to resign. The entire nation saw it on their television screens.
“Then why is the ECP doing this drama,” he demanded, questioning the law under which the electoral body had only accepted 11 resignations after “sitting on them for 3.5 months”.
Umar said that the commission had a history of taking unlawful decisions, reiterating that 80 per cent people of the country had lost confidence in ECP.