The National Assembly (NA) Secretariat categorically stated on Sunday that there was "no way" Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)'s lawmakers' resignations could be verified collectively, which have been pending with the speaker despite the lapse of several months and repeated requests from the party leadership to accept them.
It is pertinent to note that Suri, in his capacity as the acting speaker, on April 13 had accepted the resignations of 123 PTI MNAs, who had accepted their party chairman Imran Khan’s appeal after his removal from the office of the prime minister through a no-confidence motion earlier in April.
However, on April 17, the newly elected NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf directed the assembly secretariat to deal with the resignations of the PTI lawmakers afresh and present them before him so that they could be treated as per law.
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The ruling of the 22nd speaker of the assembly had come amid claims and speculations that some of the PTI lawmakers had been willing to retract and have been conveying messages that their resignations should not be accepted.
Later on, in June, the ruling coalition had formulated a strategy on the matter of en masse resignation of PTI lawmakers from the assembly and agreed to proceed with phase-wise acceptance, following which, the NA speaker proceeded to accept 11 of the 123 resignations.
Meanwhile, parliamentary sources had disclosed that about 30 members of the former ruling party did not want to resign from the legislature and added that these lawmakers can directly reach out to the NA speaker to stop the acceptance of their resignations.
Later, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had termed the resignations of 123 PTI MNAs “suspicious” after it was informed that the parliamentarians were not called in a personal capacity before the NA speaker and it also suspended the resignation of one out of the accepted resignations.
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The speaker had also time and again urged PTI lawmakers to return to parliament, saying he would not accept any of their resignations unless he was “satisfied” that they were not tendered under duress.
The National Assembly Secretariat today (Sunday) responded to a letter by the PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi to the NA speaker requesting him to set a time within a week for the formal verification of the resignations of party members, who had resigned back in April this year.
It may be noted here as well that the PTI is expected to appear in the lower house on December 28 to verify its members' resignations.
In the letter, the party's possible return to parliament was welcomed, however, it was also stated that after consultation with the speaker, senior parliamentarians, and constitutional experts, an agreement was reached that en masse verifications were nonetheless 'impossible'.
"Every member of the NA will have to personally confirm his resignation," the letter read adding that the lower house would be convened under paragraph (B) of sub-rule 43 of the Rules of Procedure, 2007 for confirmation of resignations.
PTI members were thereby invited to the speaker's chamber for the confirmation of their resignations between June 6 to 10, the spokesperson clarified.
"Despite being formally invited," the letter stated, "no member of the PTI came to the NA to confirm their resignation".