Yet to receive LHC order, says NA speaker as PTI MNAs plan return to parliament

Haider Sherazi
Waqar Satti
NA Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf presiding a session of  lower house in this undated photo. — Twitter/File
NA Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf presiding a session of  lower house in this undated photo. — Twitter/File 
  • Speaker says entry of PTI MNAs to be decided after LHC order. 
  • PTI MNA says waiting for court order is the best policy. 
  • LHC has suspended ECP order de-notifying 43 MNAs.

ISLAMABAD: As the 43 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers make an attempt to return to the National Assembly, Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf said on Thursday that he is yet to receive the Lahore High Court (LHC) order that suspended Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) notification regarding the MNAs resignations.

“After receiving the verdict, it would be thoroughly read and then the decision regarding the entry of the members would be taken,” the speaker said in a video statement issued today.

Meanwhile, sources in the National Assembly said the secretariat was consulting its legal team on the order.

The LHC, a day earlier, had suspended the ECP order that de-notified 43 PTI MNAs after their resignations were sent to the electoral body by Speaker Ashraf.

PTI changes plan 

Earlier, sources told Geo News that the 43 PTI MNAs had decided to visit the Parliament House today on the directions of party chairman Imran Khan following the LHC order.

The lawmakers had arrived in Islamabad today as per the PTI chief’s instructions. 

However, after the speaker's statement, the lawmakers changed their plans and will be going to the Parliament lodges instead. 

PTI MNA Nusrat Wahid, one of the 43 lawmakers who had approached the LHC, said that they cannot go to the assembly till they get the written court order. 

"Right now the best policy is to wait for the court order. We are soldiers of Imran Khan and try not to do anything illegal," said Wahid. 

The resignation saga 

The MNAs were among the lawmakers that had resigned after the PTI-led government was ousted via a no-confidence motion in April last year.

Back then, the PTI had claimed that resignations were accepted by former deputy speaker Qasim Suri in absence of a speaker after Asad Qaiser's resignation.

Speaker Ashraf, after his election, approved the resignations of 11 PTI lawmakers in July 2022. He had stalled the process stating the remaining lawmakers would be summoned individually for verification.

However, contrary to his stance, he quickened the process once PTI in January announced its return to the assembly and "test" the PM through a confidence vote.

The PTI resignations were accepted by NA Speaker Ashraf in four stages: 11 in the first phase, 35, 34, and 43 in the second, third, and fourth phases, respectively.

However, 43 PTI lawmakers challenged the decision in the LHC.   

The high court, while suspending the ECP notification had also stayed the by-elections on the 43 constituencies till further notice.