ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has requested the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to suspend the schedule for by-elections till final disposal of another petition that seeks court direction to the National Assembly Speaker and Election Commission of Pakistan to approve resignations of and denotify all the 123 MNAs belonging to the party.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan earlier announced that he would contest the by-elections on all the nine seats. The ECP only a day ago announced that by-elections would be held on nine seats of the National Assembly as the seats fell vacant after acceptance of their resignation by the NA Speaker and their de-notification by the commission.

The nine constituencies where by-elections will be held on September 25 are NA-22 Mardan, NA-24 Charsadda, NA-31 Peshawar, NA-45 Kurram, NA-108 Faisalabad, NA-118 Nankana Sahib, NA-237 Malir, NA-239 Korangi Karachi and NA-246 Karachi South.

Party argues its plea on matter of resignations is pending before court

In a civil miscellaneous application, the PTI apprised the IHC that a petition against acceptance of resignation was pending before the court, therefore, holding by-polls for the constituencies would turn the case infructuous.

He said the ECP issued the notification despite having knowledge that the de-notification of 11 MNAs had been challenged before the IHC. He requested the court to suspend the ECP’s schedule for by-elections till the final disposal of the petition for de-notification of all the 123 MNAs who tendered resignations en masse.

After preliminary hearing, the IHC issued notices to the respondents in the petition.

The petition cited NA Speaker, ECP, the cabinet division secretary and former deputy speaker Qasim Khan Suri as respondents.

It contended that after the regime change, the PTI leadership decided to tender resignation from the National Assembly since it was seeking a fresh mandate from the people of Pakistan. In pursuant to the decision of a meeting of the parliamentary party held in Parliament House on April 11, 2022, as many as 123 MNAs tendered resignations before the deputy speaker who accepted all of them forthwith, it argued.

However, the petition argued, incumbent NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf withheld the resignations and did not forward it to the ECP on the pretext of “so-called verification of the resignation”.

It stated after the lapse of around three and half months, the NA speaker approved resignations of only 11 of the 123 MNAs and forwarded the same to the ECP that subsequently de-notified them.

Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2022

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