In an unprecedented move, National Assembly speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf accepted the resignations of 11 PTI lawmakers exactly 109 days after they resigned from their seats while protesting the controversial vote of no confidence against former Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Those whose resignations were accepted include Shireen Mazari, Ali Muhammad Khan, Fazl Muhammad Khan, Shaukat Khan, Fakhar Zaman Khan, Farrukh Habib, Ijaz Shah, Akram Cheema, Jamil Ahmad Khan, Shandana Gulzar, and Abdul Shakoor Shaad.
Read more: PTI resigns from National Assembly
Interestingly, 131 PTI lawmakers had resigned, but the Speaker accepted the resignations of only 11 lawmakers and not others. The criteria for accepting the current 11 resignations have not been explained, however, there are reports that more resignations will be accepted in phases.
Which genius constitutional lawyer told PMLN to accept just 11 resignations of PTI.
You have to accept them ALL.
No tricks. No shortcuts. No stupidity.
Accept ALL resignations. Accepting selective resignations is unconstitutional and can be challenged again in the courts.
— Mir Mohammad Alikhan (@MirMAKOfficial) July 28, 2022
New political crisis?
Needless to say, the selective acceptance of just 11 PTI resignations is creating a new political issue in Pakistan. Political experts believe that by accepting the resignations now, the incumbent government is employing delaying tactics for early general elections in retaliation for the recent defeat it faced in Punjab.
Moreover, some experts believe that the NA speaker accepted the resignations of PTI lawmakers from those constituencies where the PDM is in majority, for instance in NA 22, even though PTI won with 58,577 votes, the government alliance makes up an impressive 133,524.
Govt approved 11 PTI resignations (9+2). People are wondering abt the random nature of selection, BUT is it really random? Resignations of those constituencies are acptd where PDM (or allies) had a combined majority (xcpt NA 31) over PTI in '18 results. A thread 🧵… pic.twitter.com/3ur8zcHqfk
— Ali Munir (@ali_alimunir) July 28, 2022
On the other hand, PTI has decried the move and rejected any possibility of by-elections on the empty seats. PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry tweeted that ex-deputy speaker Qasim Suri had already accepted the PTI lawmakers’ resignations and sent the same to the ECP, saying the acceptance of the resignations now has no legal value.
Fawad said that it was a fantasy that by-elections would be held in 11 constituencies, adding that the country was moving towards general elections and the incumbent rulers won’t be able to stop that.
اسپیکر قاسم سوری پہلے ہی استعفیٰ منظور کر کے الیکشن کمیشن کو بھجوا چکے ہیں آج اسپیکر کے گیارہ استعفیٰ منظور کرنے کی کوئ قانونی حیثیت نہیں، یہ خام خیالی ہے کہ آپ ان حلقوں میں ضمنی الیکشن کرائیں گے ملک عام انتخابات کی طرف بڑہ رہا ہے اور موجودہ حکمران انتخابات نہیں روک سکتے
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) July 28, 2022
However, legal experts say that Article 224 (4) (time of election and by-election) of the Constitution, made it mandatory to hold by-elections on vacant seats within 60 days.
Article 224 (4) states: “When, except by dissolution of the National Assembly or a provincial assembly, a seat in any such assembly has become vacant not later than 120 days before the term of that assembly is due to expire, an election to fill the seat shall be held within 60 days from the occurrence of the vacancy.”
According to the latest details, the accepted resignations of 11 PTI lawmakers have been received by the Election Commission of Pakistan. The schedule for the by-polls would be announced in a few days.