Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Asad Qaiser, has said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) can return to the House if Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif announces date for general elections.
Speaking to Dawn News’ Adil Shahzeb on Thursday, the PTI leader said, “I am telling you about the party policy. But first, they need to decide on a date for elections and dissolving the assemblies.”
“But the date of elections must not be too far away”, he added.
It is pertinent to mention that PTI leaders had tendered their resignations together after former PM Imran Khan’s government was ousted through a no-confidence motion in April of this year. Since then, most of the resignations remain with the current Speaker, Raja Pervez Ashraf.
Discussing another possibility, Asad Qaiser said the party can consider rejoining the NA if there is a need for legislating or passing amendments regarding election reforms, stressing that his party chairman Imran Khan is also of the same view.
About the dissolution of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) assemblies, where PTI is in power, Qaiser revealed that the option is “still alive” and that discussions are taking place regarding this matter.
Talking about PTI long march, he said whatever steps are taken would be within constitutional limits.
Asad’s remarks came after Supreme Court (SC) suggested on Thursday that PTI should go back to the lower house as voters had elected them for five years.
‘Return to the National Assembly’: CJP Bandial says PTI should play its role in parliament
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial reminded PTI that public had elected their representatives for a term of five years.
“People have elected [PTI lawmakers] for five years. The party should play its role in parliament. Playing a due role in parliament is the actual obligation,” said CJP Bandial.
Initially, PTI had moved the IHC and challenged the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) acceptance of the resignations of 11 MNAs and not accepting a “piece-meal” resignation of all 123 lawmakers.
But the IHC dismissed the plea on September 6.
During today’s hearing, the top court said that the IHC has given a clear ruling on the phase-wise acceptance of MNAs’ resignations.
“The speaker has the legal right to accept the resignations of MNAs. Prima facie, if the speaker’s rights are infringed upon, it will attract Article 69,” the court said.
“Convince the court that the high court’s decision had some drawbacks,” it said, telling PTI’s counsel Faisal Chaudhry that the people elected his clients for a term of five years and the party should play its role in parliament.
“Your [PTI] real responsibility is to play your role in parliament. Millions of people have been affected by floods,” the CJP told the counsel, drawing light on the country’s grim situation.
“You will also have to look at the country’s economic situation. Does the PTI have any idea how much it will cost to hold by-elections on 123 seats?” he asked.
The CJP said one should conduct themselves in a dignified manner and exercise “tolerance in matters of the state”.
“We are giving you another chance to think. Take instructions from the party,” he told the PTI’s counsel.
The CJP asked, “Why do you want the court to issue a stay order on by-polls on the 11 National Assembly seats?”
The PTI’s counsel replied that elections cannot be held in selected constituencies.
“Have you ever asked the speaker why is he not confirming the resignations?” inquired the CJP.
The chief justice observed that they cannot interfere in the jurisdiction of the speaker.
“Every institution has its own limitation,” the CJP remarked.
Turnout in by-elections is low, CJP Bandial said, adding that expenses for by-elections in 123 constituencies at a time will be very high.
According to the Constitution, the first duty of elected members is to join the assembly, observed the CJP.
“It is possible that you will gain political advantage from the elections, but prima facie, the procedure adopted by the speaker is not wrong,” remarked the CJP.
Meanwhile, the court adjourned the case for an indefinite period.
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