The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday suspended the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) de-notification of all PTI MNAs from Punjab.
The PTI 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 had on Jan 17, accepted the resignations of 34 more PTI MNAs and Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid while three days later on Jan 20, the speaker accepted 35 more resignations.
A total of 70 PTI lawmakers, including Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Andleeb Abbas, Pervaiz Khattak and others belonging to various constituencies across the country had on Friday filed a plea with LHC, seeking court directions to nullify the decision of NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf of the acceptance of their resignations as well as the subsequent de-denotification order issued the ECP.
The petitioners had made NA speaker, NA secretary, the ECP and the federation of Pakistan as respondents in the plea.
The petitioners had also urged the court to suspend the notifications from NA Secretariat and the ECP till the final disposal of the plea.
However, in its order today, the high court only suspended the ECP order for the MNAs belonging to Punjab. The status of those from other provinces remained unclear, while the court’s written orders are awaited.
Meanwhile, the court issued notices to the ECP as well as the NA speaker. Subsequently, the hearing was adjourned till March 7.
Last week, Justice Shahid Karim overruled an objection of the registrar office on a petition of the PTI MNAs challenging the acceptance of their resignations.
The office had initially objected to the maintainability of the petition for non-provision of necessary documents.
The judge, however, overruled the objection and directed the office to fix the petition before an appropriate bench.
The LHC had on February 8 also suspended the NA speaker’s acceptance of the resignations of 43 PTI lawmakers and put by-elections in 43 constituencies on hold.
The court order was pronounced by Justice Shahid Karim on a petition filed by PTI’s Riaz Fatyana and 42 other MNAs against the NA speaker’s acceptance of their resignations and the ECP’s de-notification orders.
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