LHC suspends ECP order to de-notify 43 PTI lawmakers

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday suspended an order issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to denotify the 43 leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) as members of the National Assembly (MNAs).

Justice Shahid Karim announced the verdict on the petitions filed by the PTI lawmakers wherein they had made National Assembly Speaker Raja Parvez Ashraf and ECP respondents. The court has also stopped the electoral body from holding by-elections in the constituencies until further orders.

Last week, a group of PTI leaders, including Riaz Fatyana, Tahir Sadiq, Nasrullah Khan, filed the petition against denotification of 43 party lawmakers by the electoral body.

On Jan 24, Mr Ashraf accepted resignations of 43 more PTI lawmakers a day after they announced the withdrawal of their resignations in a bid to bar opposition leader Raja Riaz, a dissident PTI leader, from negotiating with the government on caretaker set-up in case general elections are announced.

The move took the tally of PTI resignations approved by the speaker to 124 as he has approved 70 earlier this week and 11 in August last. The resignations were submitted by the PTI MNAs in April last in protest against the ouster of Imran Khan as prime minister through a no-confidence vote.

The speaker has accepted the resignations of Riaz Fatyana, Sardar Tariq Hussain, Mohammad Yaqub Sheikh, Murtaza Iqbal, Sardar Mohammad Khan Leghari, Zile Humma, Rukhsana Naveed, Ghazala Saifi, Nousheen Hamid, Sobia Kamal Khan and others.

Following the speaker’s decision, the electoral body denotified the 43 MNAs of the Imran Khan-led party.

The swift approval of the resignations came after Imran Khan-led party took a U-turn on resignations and announced its return to the assembly to put Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to test through a no-confidence vote.

The general elections have become talk of the town since the dissolution of the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies. However, the government has been reiterating that the elections will be held on time.

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