National Assembly Speaker Raja Parvez Ashraf has accepted the resignation of 35 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers, sources said on Tuesday.
After PTI chief Imran Khan was ousted in April last year, as many as 123 lawmakers resigned en masse from the lower house of parliament.
The development came a day after PTI chief and former prime minister Imran Khan indicated that he would return to the National Assembly to consult with the exchequers "on an interim arrangement to be installed after the dissolution" of the lower house of parliament.
Speaking to a select group of journalists in Lahore on Monday, Imran predicted that the country"s next general elections would be held in two to three months. Without their presence, he added, the government would have consulted a caretaker government with the current leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Raja Riaz.
He pointed out that "PTI has now decided" to give Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif a hard time and vowed that "he [Shehbaz Sharif] will have sleepless nights in the coming days". He alleged that some members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) National Assembly wanted to join the PTI.
“Some PM-N National Assembly members are in touch with PTI and have expressed their interest to join our camp. We will test them before we give them party membership,” Imran said, seeing the elections in March or April.
The members whose resignations were accepted include Murad Saeed, Umar Ayub, Asad Qaiser, Parvez Khattak, Imran Khattak, Shehryar Afridi, Qasim Suri, Najeeb Haroon, Aslam Khan, Aftab Jahangir, Attaullah, Aftab Hussain Siddiqui, Ali Haamigir Khanidi, Al Haamigir Khanidi, , Saifur Rehman, Faheem Khan, Zartaj Gul, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Malik Amir Dogar, Shafqat Mehmood, Hammad Azhar, Sanaullah Mastikhel, Fawad Ahmed, Mansoor Hayat and others.
Similarly, the resignations of Alia Hamza Malik and Kanwal Shuzab, who were elected from the reserve seats, were also accepted.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) also removed the lawmakers from their seats.
Last month, the National Assembly had announced a clear policy on confirmation of resignations of PTI members, under which each party MNA had to personally confirm his resignation.
The NA spokesperson said that PTI"s request for joint appearance and confirmation of resignation from their respective seats is being discussed again, adding that a reply has been sent to the letter sent by PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi on December 22.
PTI MNAs will be asked to confirm their resignation as per the contents of the NA letter and each member will have to confirm their resignation in person.
The NA secretariat said there was no way to collectively verify the resignations of PTI legislators, which were discussed with the speaker despite several months and repeated requests from the party leadership to accept them.
One hundred and twenty-three PTI MNAs resigned en masse on April 11, two days after party chairman Imran Khan was ousted as prime minister through a no-confidence motion.
However, on 17 April, newly elected NA Chairman Raja Pervez Ashraf directed the Assembly Secretariat to re-examine the resignations of PTI legislators and submit them to him for legal action.
In June last year, the ruling coalition formulated a strategy on the mass resignations of PTI legislators from the assembly and agreed on a phased acceptance, after which the NA speaker proceeded to accept 11 of the 123 resignations. .