ISLAMABAD – National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf, in an expected move, yesterday accepted 43 more resignations of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) MNAs with a gap of less than a week. The National Assembly Secretariat has sent these resignations to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for the de-notification process. PTI has now lost the strength to claim the slot of leader of opposition in the national assembly and chairmanship of Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
The approval of these resignations has seemingly relaxed the PTI dissidents grabbing two important slots in the national assembly including Leader of Opposition and PAC chairmanship. A group of 45 PTI MNAs the other day [Saturday] had sent their hand-written withdrawals to the speaker via email and demanded the nomination of a new opposition leader from amongst them.
These PTI members also met Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja and informed him about their decision to return to the National Assembly after nine months. Despite all these efforts to return to the parliament, the Speaker National Assembly in the fourth phase accepted 43 resignations. The PTI resignations were accepted by NA Speaker Ashraf in four stages as initially, only 11 resignations were accepted, while 35 resignations were accepted on January 17, another 35 on January 20 and now 43 have been approved.
Background discussion with PTI members revealed that except some five members resignations of all these members have been accepted. The process of verification with the national assembly secretariat has been completed. PTI had submitted 131 resignations soon after election of leader of the house in April. The electoral watchdog has already de-notified 81 MNAs (including reserved seats), following the acceptance of resignations by the speaker. The announcement by the PTI members regarding withdrawal of their resignations came in a dramatic way as they first reached Parliament House in an attempt to meet the speaker, and, after the guards did not allow them to enter the building, marched to his official residence.