After a PTI legislator claimed he did not resign from his National Assembly position, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) stated on Friday that the party’s mass resignations had become suspicious.
Abdul Shakoor Shad, a PTI MNA, contested his resignation in the IHC, claiming that although he had shown support for the 123 MNAs who had quit their seats, he had never actually resigned. Following the resignations of 123 PTI members sent by the party’s former deputy speaker Qasim Suri, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) de-notified 11 PTI MNAs, including Shad.
Shad’s case was heard by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah. The justice invalidated the ECP notification that de-notified him and ordered him to continue serving as a legislator. On April 11, all PTI MNAs abruptly resigned, two days after PTI Chairman Imran Khan was removed as prime minister following a no-confidence motion introduced by the then-opposition.
On April 15, Suri accepted all of the resignations while serving as the NA’s interim speaker after Asad Qaiser’s resignation. But after Raja Pervez Ashraf was named speaker, he made the decision to conduct one-on-one interviews with every MNA to confirm their resignations.
The decision was made in response to information that some resignation letters presented by the MPs were typewritten, in violation of the NA’s norms. The IHC was informed by Shad’s attorney that his party had removed his signature in order to “display unity” with other lawmakers who had resigned.
“The resignation, however, was typed by a computer operator of the party, which does not include a date and neither does it have an address,” he informed the court. The lawyer said that Shad was involved in the parliamentary proceedings as well. His attendance records are also present from the month of July, the counsel said.
“So, was he ever called for a confirmation of his resignation?” the IHC inquired, to which the lawyer responded that Shad was asked to come in once, but could not go as he was sick. “But after that, he did participate in the sittings of the standing committees,” the lawyer added.
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After hearing the arguments, the judge ordered Shad to keep serving in the legislature. The ECP and the NA Secretariat were then served with notifications by IHC CJ Minallah requesting responses within two weeks.