PML-N’s Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Sajjad Awan ‘don’t know’ how resignations ended up in NA

Muhammad Sajjad Awan (L) and Murtaza Javed Abbasi (R). Geo.tv/Files & Facebook/Murtaza Javed Abbasi (@murtazajaveedabbasi)/Files
  • MNAs appear at NA Secretariat for verification of resignations
  • Resignation letters fake, PML-N lawmakers say, refusing to validate them
  • “Don’t know how they ended up in the National Assembly,” lawmakers say

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: In a major twist to the Opposition-led Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) strategy to force the PTI government out of power, PML-N lawmakers on Wednesday refused to validate their resignations, Geo News reported citing sources.

The development, the sources said, came when MNAs Murtaza Javed Abbasi and Muhammad Sajjad Awan appeared at the National Assembly Secretariat, saying their resignation letters were fake and refused to validate them.

“We had sent our resignations to the [PML-N] leadership but don’t know how they ended up in the National Assembly,” the lawmakers said, before submitting a written statement to the NA Speaker’s office.

Two days ago, MNA Awan had caused some tensions within the party by refuting the NA Speaker Asad Qaiser’s statement about receiving his resignation.

“I never sent my resignation to the [NA] speaker, so where did he [Qaiser] get it from,” he had asked.

Explaining his comment, Awan had said his resignation letter was in his possession and was never sent to the NA speaker. “My seat [in the National Assembly] has been entrusted to me by my party,” he had said.

“When the PML-N asks for my resignation, only then will I submit it,” the lawmaker had clarified, adding that the Opposition’s move would make a significant difference as the government would not be able to operate after receiving a large number of resignations from assembly members.

At that time, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb had also denied submitting the resignations directly to Qaiser — who belongs to the ruling PTI — and said Abbasi and Awan had sent them to the party’s provincial president.

Two days prior to the controversy, PML-N Vice President and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, had spoken of the “mischief” under which the aforementioned lawmakers’ resignations had reached Qaiser after which both were summoned to verify their legitimacy.

“The two are towering figures when it comes to loyalty,” she said, naming Abbasi and Awan. They must “throw them in the speaker’s face” and demand that he accept them, she had added.

Maryam had said the PML-N’s political workers were not like those from PTI, who had resigned during Nawaz Sharif’s premiership but “when they were called by the speaker to verify they have resigned, they said they had been forced by Imran Khan”.

Moreover, a day prior, Dawn had quoted sources as saying the federal Cabinet had advised the NA speaker to accept the Opposition lawmakers’ resignations.

Quoting a participant of the federal Cabinet’s meeting, the publication had reported that it was aimed at sending a clear message to the Opposition-led Pakistan Democratic Movement that the PTI regime would not succumb to “pressure tactics”.

PM Imran Khan “asked National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar to accept resignations, as and when they come,” the source told the publication, adding that the premier was quoted as saying the PTI government would “never succumb to any pressure of the opposition seeking NRO”, referring to the National Reconciliation Ordinance.

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