LHC Suspends ECP’s Order To Denotify 43 PTI Lawmakers

LHC Suspends ECP’s Order To Denotify 43 PTI Lawmakers
In a landmark ruling, the Lahore High Court (LHC) has suspended the order of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to denotify 43 lawmakers of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

The LHC has also temporarily postponed the by-elections in the constituencies represented by the denotified lawmakers until further notice.

The verdict, suspension of the ECP order to denotify 43 lawmakers of PTI, came after a plea was filed by PTI lawmaker Riaz Fatyana and others challenging the National Assembly speaker’s approval of their resignations. The commission had acted after the speaker, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, sent the resignation letters to the EPC.

Raja Pervaiz Ashraf approved the letters last month after former prime minister Imran Khan indicated the PTI’s return to the parliament and appointment of one of its members as opposition leader in the National Assembly.

It is pertinent to mention here that the PTI lawmakers had resigned en masse from the lower house of parliament following the ouster of PTI chief Imran Khan in April last year.

NA Speaker Ashraf on July 28, 2022, accepted the resignations of only 11 PTI lawmakers.

The PTI had challenged the “piecemeal acceptance” in the Islamabad High Court (IHC), contesting that it was “unsustainable”. The IHC, however, had dismissed the petition on Sept 6, 2022.

The party then approached the Supreme Court, praying it to set aside the IHC order, terming it “vague, cursory, and against the law”. A decision on the PTI’s plea in the apex court is still pending.

Ashraf told a PTI delegation on Dec 29, 2022, that the party’s lawmakers would be summoned individually for verification of their resignations as the latter insisted on them being accepted in one go.

But after stalling the process for eight months, the NA speaker accepted the resignations of 34 PTI MNAs on Jan 17 and 35 MNAs on Jan 20, including Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid, as the party hinted it would “test” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif with a confidence vote.

On Jan 24, 43 PTI MNAs had written to the NA speakers withdrawing their resignations. However, the speaker had already accepted the resignations by then. Subsequently, on Jan 25, the ECP denotified 43 more PTI lawmakers, taking the total number to 123.