ISLAMABAD: Contra­dicting the announcement it made only days ago that PTI members of National Assembly are ready to appear before Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf for verification of their resignations, the party on Wednesday changed its stance as senior party leader Senator Shibli Faraz declared that the lawmakers would not go to the Parliament House, and instead, the PTI would approach the Supreme Court to seek acceptance of the mass resignations.

“We had decided to go to the assembly for acceptance of our resignations. But this is not the way and MNAs, who are elected by the people, cannot be asked to keep standing in a queue for acceptance of their resignations … The government is doing all this [handling the resignation issue] with a mala fide intention,” said Mr Faraz, alleging that the speaker wanted to “humiliate” the PTI lawmakers by treating them as “charity seekers”.

Talking to Dawn, Mr Faraz said they would approach the Supreme Court and ask it to direct the speaker to accept the resignations submitted some eight months ago.

“We will go to the SC in a day or two,” he said.

The party is going to the apex court where this issue has already been discussed during the hearing of various petitions and even the judges had observed that PTI should reconsider its decision of quitting the assembly.

When asked if it was not a U-turn as PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi had written a letter to the speaker only six days back, asking him to allocate some time for the party’s MNAs to verify their resignations, Mr Faraz said they wanted to do so, but the government did not seem to be serious which was evident from the fact that it had convened a session of the National Assembly on Thursday (today) on a one-day notice despite the fact that the speaker was not even present in the country.

“This is not a U-turn. Look at the spirit of the matter. Why is the government delaying acceptance of our resignations? Why has the speaker adopted a pick-and-choose policy by accepting the resignations of only 11 members?” he said, adding that submission of mass resignations was part of the party strategy to force the government to hold early elections in the country. Otherwise, he said, the party MNAs could have been asked to submit resignations in groups.

When his attention was drawn to the assembly rules under which the speaker is required to individually call the members for verification of resignations, Mr Faraz posed a valid counter-question, saying: “Under which law did the speaker accept the resignations of the 11 MNAs who had also not appeared before him for verification [of their resignations]?”

“We are dealing with those people who do not have any moral standing,” the PTI senator alleged, questioning the logic behind the speaker’s decision to accept the resignations of 11 members out of 123 who had submitted the resignations en masse at the time of the election of Shehbaz Sharif as the prime minister in April.

On Dec 15, while talking to reporters in Lahore, Mr Qureshi had expressed his party’s resolve to dissolve the assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and get the MNAs’ resignations accepted after appearing before the speaker.

“We have already made our decision. We will execute it,” he had stated, adding that party Chairman Imran Khan had given him the letter for sending it to the speaker.

He also waved the ‘letter’ bearing the subject “Resignations of MNAs of PTI” to the media and chided the speaker for being “selective” while accepting the resignations of 11 MNAs “illegally”.

Published in Dawn, December 22nd, 2022

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