Forty-five PTI lawmakers on Monday collectively withdrew their resignations from the National Assembly on orders of party chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan.
PTI leader Asad Umar, while announcing the development on Twitter, said that the lawmakers have sent emails in this regard to Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.
The decision, he added, was taken after the speaker refused to accept all the resignations together. “The next step will be the nomination of the opposition leader,” Umar tweeted.
The lawmakers who have decided to withdraw their resignations include Muhammad Riaz Khan, Muhammad Yaqoob Sheikh, Shaheen Niaz, Nasarullah Dareshar, Zulfiqar Ali Khan, Nafeesa Inayat Khan, Malik Anwar, Saleh Mohammad, Jai Parkash, Tahir Sadiq, Niaz Ahmed, Raza Nasarullah, Javed Iqbal, Munaza Hasan, Lal Chand Malhi, Sajida Zulfiqar, Sardar Muhammad Khan, Uzma Riaz, Tashfeen Safadar, Jawad Hussain and Nausheen Hamid.
Meanwhile, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said that the decision was taken so that the party could take back the posts of the leader of the opposition and parliamentary party leader.
He added that the aim of the move was to get rid of the “fake” NA opposition leader and prevent “turncoats” from voting for Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the vote of confidence.
It is pertinent to mention here that the initial number of resignations withdrawn was 44, however, it was later updated.
After Umar’s announcement, PTI lawmakers staged a sit-in outside the NA speaker’s house, demanding that their requests should be immediately accepted.
PTI delegation meets ECP top brass, demands fair play
Later in the day, party lawmakers also held a meeting with the top brass of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in Islamabad.
Talking to reporters outside the electoral body, PTI leader Amir Dogar said the party had provided the commission with a list carrying the names of 45 MNAs who had withdrawn their resignations.
“Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja personally received our application and we requested him that the ECP must play its constitutional role here,” he told the media.
Flanked by Riaz Fatyana and other leaders, Dogar said the PTI delegation told the commission to treat the party’s decision justly and in the light of the Constitution.
He said the list of members withdrawing their resignations had been also been sent to National Assembly speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf, while the same had also been uploaded to the NA website for the record.
He said the PTI wanted to get an “actual opposition leader appointed in the lower house who could take the election process forward”.
Dogar insisted that the government had lost its credibility while urging the ECP to take a decision that was in the public interest.
To a question, the PTI leader said no party lawmaker had received a penny from the government since April 10 — the day when PTI legislators resigned en masse.
He said the government was spreading incorrect reports that the PTI was out of assembly while its lawmakers were still receiving salaries.
“Even if some lawmakers are living in lodges, they are paying rent and bills on time,” he claimed.
As many as 123 PTI MNAs had resigned en masse from the lower house of parliament following the ouster of PTI chief Imran Khan in April last year.
Subsequently, NA speaker Ashraf accepted only 11 of the resignations, stating that the remaining lawmakers would be summoned individually for verification.
After stalling the process for eight months, Ashraf last week, accepted the resignations of 69 more PTI MNAs and Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid as the party hinted it would “test” the incumbent prime minister with a confidence vote. The total number of PTI MNAs whose resignations have been accepted stands at 80 so far.