— Umar says move aimed the reclaiming opposition leader’s office from ‘turncoat’ Riaz
ISLAMABAD: In a surprise move, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has decided to withdraw the resignations of its remaining 44 members of the National Assembly whose resignations have not been accepted by the speaker, in a move which aims to retake the office of the leader of the opposition.
Asad Umar, secretary general of the opposition party, announced the party’s decision on Monday, stating they had informed Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf of the decision via email.
The lawmakers who have decided to withdraw their resignations include Muhammad Riaz Khan, Muhammad Yaqoob Sheikh, Shaheen Niaz, Nasarullah Dareshar, Zulfiqar Ali Khan, Nafeesa Inayat Khan, Malik Anwar, Saleh Mohammad, Jai Parkash, Tahir Sadiq, Niaz Ahmed, Raza Nasarullah, Javed Iqbal, Munaza Hasan, Lal Chand Malhi, Sajida Zulfiqar, Sardar Muhammad Khan, Uzma Riaz, Tashfeen Safdar, Jawad Hussain, and Nausheen Hamid.
کیونکہ سپیکر ابھی تک تمام اسمبلی ارکان کے استعفے قبول نہیں کر رہے، اس لئے پارٹی چیئرمین کی ہدایات کے مطابق 44 ارکان اسمبلی نے اپنے استعفے واپس لینے کا فیصلہ سپیکر قومی اسمبلی کو ای میل کر دیا ہے. اگلا قدم اپوزیشن لیڈر کی نامزدگی ہو گی. pic.twitter.com/qx86MCyTBK
— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) January 23, 2023
The party now aims to appoint one of its members as the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, he said.
Separately, Fawad Chaudhry, senior vice president of the party, said the lawmakers had decided to withdraw their resignations to get rid of Raja Riaz Ahmad, who he called a “fake” opposition leader, and prevent the group of “turncoats” from voting for Shehbaz Sharif in the vote of confidence.
More than 120 MPs loyal to former prime minister Imran Khan resigned en masse on April 11, two days after he was ousted following a contentious vote of no-confidence marred by unprobed allegations of military intervention.
Former deputy speaker of the National Assembly, Qasim Suri — who was performing his duties as acting speaker after then-incumbent Asad Qaiser’s resignation — accepted the resignation letters on April 15.
However, once Ashraf was elected as the speaker, he decided to verify the resignations by interviewing lawmakers individually, but instead decided in favour of stalling the entire process by blaming it on the lawmakers’ reluctance to step down.
Such situations require a lot of thought process, he had said, declaring he will not accept the resignation letters until he was completely satisfied they were not stepping down under pressure.
However, last week, after Khan hinted at “testing” the prime minister through a confidence vote in a tit-for-tat move similar to the one he himself had faced, Ashraf accepted 35 resignations from PTI lawmakers and sent the list to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for de-notification.
To date, a total of 80 PTI MPs’ resignations have been accepted.
Following the announcement on Monday, PTI lawmakers staged a sit-in outside the speaker’s official house, demanding that their requests should be immediately accepted.