ISLAMABAD: In another bid to convince Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to allow Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leaders to return to the lower house of parliament, a 20-member delegation led by party stalwart Malik Amir Dogar called on the National Assembly speaker and urged him to reverse his decision regarding the acceptance of resignations.
Mr Dogar, the former chief whip of the party, informed the speaker that the Lahore High Court had restored the membership of PTI MNAs so their resignations should also be withdrawn, according to separate statements issued by both sides after the meeting.
The PTI also demanded that the new opposition leader should be appointed after the restoration of PTI lawmakers’ membership so that the process for the appointment of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chief could be started. The former ruling party also sought the chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee currently headed by Noor Alam Khan, a dissident PTI leader.
During the meeting at Parliament House, the speaker also asked the members if their resignation letters were submitted against their will, but failed to get a clear response from them, sources told Dawn. Mr Ashraf further said the resignations of PTI lawmakers were accepted in accordance with the Constitution and Rules of Business of the National Assembly of Pakistan.
Ashraf to consult legal team; delegates demand posts of opposition leader, PAC chief
The speaker informed the delegation that each PTI member was written by his office separately for individual verification of their resignations time and again, but not a single member appeared before him. He added that the process of acceptance of resignations was started after his meeting with the PTI delegation — led by former speaker Asad Qaiser and Amir Dogar — that had demanded the acceptance of their resignations forthwith.
However, the speaker assured the delegation that PTI’s request for reversing the decision would be put forth before the legal team of the National Assembly Secretariat and they will be informed accordingly. During the meeting, the NA speaker said that resolution of all challenges was possible only through dialogue.
It is worth mentioning that the PTI members had resigned en masse from the National Assembly in April last year a day after party chairman Imran Khan’s ouster as the prime minister through a no-confidence vote and shortly before Shehbaz Sharif succeeded him as the premier.
Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2023
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