Monday Dec 26, 2022
National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has said that he wants the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) lawmakers to verify their resignations individually as if the MNAs were to come to the house collectively, he fears some of them might be "shy about revealing the truth".
In conversation with Geo News, the custodian of the house said that he had earlier written letters to all the PTI members of the National Assembly — in line with the rules — to appear before him and verify their resignations one-by-one.
"I asked them to appear individually to confirm that they weren't coerced or forced into resigning from their seats. Had they appeared before and told me that the resignations were voluntary, then I would have approved them."
Ashraf also said that later, he came to know that the PTI leadership had prohibited its lawmakers from appearing before the speaker in person.
In response to PTI Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi's letter about appearing before the speaker altogether, Ashraf said he could not confirm their resignations as it would not be in line with the "speaker's satisfaction".
The speaker of the lower house of parliament went on to say that he would welcome all the PTI MNAs back to the National Assembly as they are his colleagues and their return would be for the betterment of democracy.
Ashraf added that some lawmakers had informed him that they were not in favour of resigning from the assembly, but the party forced the decision on them.
He added that he would once again write letters to the PTI parliamentarians and ask them to appear before him "individually" and not collectively.
The PTI MNAs had resigned en masse after Imran Khan was voted out from the prime minister's office in April and have not returned to the house despite the Supreme Court and the government's requests.
Recently, as the former prime minister readies his party for elections and announced plans of dissolving the assemblies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, the party has decided to appear before the speaker once again, but en masse, to confirm their resignations.
To finalise the strategy for their resignations, Imran Khan also summoned all his party's MNAs to the KP House in Islamabad on December 28.
Initially, the PTI had announced to reach out to the NA speaker and verify their resignations on December 22. However, they postponed the move after the political turmoil in Punjab.