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Thursday, May 23, 2024

By-elections after resignation of 11 PTI MNAs

Interestingly, 131 PTI lawmakers had resigned, but the Speaker accepted the resignations of only 11 lawmakers and not others.

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.

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.

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.

Read more: Shahbaz Gill predicts general elections may be announced before October

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.

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.