ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Secret­ary General Asad Umar on Tuesday announced that the party would move the high court against the acceptance of only 11 of over a hundred PTI lawmakers who had resigned en masse from the National Assembly in April.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Mr Umar said a series of recent audio leaks substantiated the PTI stance that the acceptance of the resignations of some of the 123 members of the National Assembly was a ‘political decision’ of the incumbent government.

The PTI had decided to quit the assembly seats after holding a debate for two days, he said, adding that 123 MNAs subsequently submitted resignations at the same time. Then “acting speaker of the National Assembly Qasim Suri accepted those resignations, but now an audio leak clearly shows that senior PML-N leaders, including the prime minister, decided which members’ resignations should be accepted.

“It is an effort to divide the PTI and avoid chances of clean sweep by PTI on 123 seats,” he said.

He alleged that the Election Commission of Pakistan had become a ‘political party’ rather than an institution. He argued how it was possible that when 123 MNAs resigned en masse, only some of them were accepted and others were not.

Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf had accepted the resignations of 11 PTI members, including former ministers Shireen Mazari, Ijaz Ahmed Shah, Ali Mohammad Khan, Farrukh Habib besides Fazal Mohammad Khan, Shaukat Ali, Fakhar Zaman Khan, Jamil Ahmed Khan, Mohammad Akram Cheema, Abdul Shakoor Shad and Shandana Gulzar Khan, in July and the ECP later notified it.

As Mazari and Shandana were elected on seats reserved for women from Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the ECP decided to hold by-elections on the remaining nine seats.

However, the by-polls were postponed later under the pretext of rains despite the fact that a number of areas were not affected by rains, Mr Umar told the media. “Now once again it has been decided to delay elections by making an excuse that police officials are not available. So now we have decided to contact high court to either accept all resignations or none of them,” he said.

Referring to the cipher, the PTI leader said it proved the ‘foreign conspiracy’ against his government, adding that even the National Security Committee also confirmed foreign intervention. Audio leaks proved that Mr Khan’s stance was correct, he added.

Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2022

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