Shocker for Imran Khan: A day after former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan hinted to move a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly, in a surprise move, the country's speaker on Tuesday accepted the resignations of 34 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers. Earlier in April last year, at least 123 lawmakers of ousted prime minister Imran Khan's party had decided to quit the parliament immediately after he was removed from power through a no-trust vote.
However, Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf had accepted the resignations of only 11 of them in July while insisting that the remaining lawmakers would be summoned individually for verification.
In an unexpected move, he accepted 35 more resignations, including 34 belonging to Khan’s party and one that of Sheikh Rashid Ahmad of Awami Muslim League - an ally of Khan. They were also de-notified by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The ECP in its notification stated that the lawmakers were de-notified “with immediate effect”.
Unexpected move for Imran Khan
The development came a day after 70-year-old Khan hinted to return to the National Assembly for consultation with the treasury benches “on an interim set-up to be installed after the dissolution” of the lower house of parliament.
The ruling alliance had welcomed the announcement by Khan but the acceptance of resignations showed that the government wanted to reduce the strength of PTI in the lower house as Khan had also threatened to test Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif with a no-trust vote.
Zulfi Bukhari of PTI in his reaction said that the speaker had claimed he couldn't accept the resignations collectively but acted differently. "Imran Khan thinks of re-entering the National Assembly to seek a vote of no-confidence against Shehbaz Sharif. Within minutes there’s a mass acceptance,” he said.
Senior PTI leader thanked Speaker
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said that he was thankful to the speaker but he should also accept the resignations of the remaining lawmakers. The acceptance of resignation had further increased the political polarisation in the country which began after Khan was ousted from power last year.
Khan has dissolved the Punjab assembly and is on the way to dissolving the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assembly – the two provinces where his party was in power.
Khan has been demanding early elections since his removal from power but so far the government has dodged his efforts by insisting that the current parliament will complete its term which will end in August this year.
(With inputs from PTI)
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