ISLAMABAD - Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervez Ashraf Tuesday accepted resignations of at least 35 members of the National Assembly belonging to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). These MNAs were consequently de-notified by the Election Commission of Pakistan late Tuesday. The move comes just one day after PTI Chairman Imran Khan dropped a hint to returning to the National Assembly in a bid to force the prime minister to seek vote of confidence besides ensuring non-participation of their dissident members in the expected vote of confidence against prime minister. The Election Commission of Pakistan [ECP] de-notified 35 PTI MNAs shortly after their pending resignations were accepted by National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf. These resignations of PTI’s MPs, considered as a surprise for PTI, were accepted when PTI Chairman Imran Khan hinted at returning to the National Assembly. According to the notification issued by the top electoral body with an ‘immediate effect’, the de-notified MNAs include Murad Saeed, Omar Ayub Khan, Asad Qaiser, Pervez Khattak, Imran Khattak, Sheharyar Afridi, All Amin Khan, Noorul Haq Qadri, Raja Khurram Shahzad Nawaz, Ali Nawaz Awan, Asad Umar, Sadaqat Ali Khan, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Sheikh Rashid Shafique, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Mansoor Hayat Khan, Fawad Ahmed, Sanaullah Khan Mastikhel, Hammad Azhar, Shafqat Mahmood, Malik Muhammad Amir Dogar, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Zartaj Gul, Faheem Khan, Saifur Rehman, Muhammad Alamgir Khan, Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Aftab Hussain Saddique, Ataullah, Aftab Jehangir, Muhammad Aslam Khan, Muhammad Najeeb Haroon and Qasim Khan Suri. Two MNAs elected on reserve seats Aliya Hamza Malik and Kanwal Shauzab were also de-notified. The electoral body [ECP], according to the rules, has to announce bye-polls on all these 33 vacant seats. Talking to The Nation, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf said the resignations of other PTI MNAs after the complete verifications could also be accepted in another phase. Most of these 35 MNAs were continuously giving statements to accept their submitted resignations. “We have accepted the resignations following the rules and regulations,” he remarked. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf [PTI] had announced en-bloc resignations from the lower house of the parliament in the month of April. The opposition party made this decision after PTI Chief Imran Khan was deposed as leader of the house [Prime Minister]. The resignations of eleven MPs were accepted on July 28, 2022 by Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervez Ashraf. Pakistan Democratic Movement [PDM] Chairman Maulan Fazlur Rahman, in a kneejerk reaction, commented that the members of PDM would not participate in the bye-polls of these vacant seats. It may also be noted here that the ‘surprise’ of accepting these resignations was given to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf when the country’s economy is almost touching the lowest ebb. According to the estimates, the expenditures of conducting polls have multiplied in the last five years due to price hike. PTI chief Imran Khan has already announced to dissolve two assemblies [Punjab and KPK] and the estimate of conducting polls in one assembly is approximately Rs 22 Billion. Political pundits viewed that the PDM’s move to accept resignations was to thwart the move to make successful the expected ‘vote of no-confidence’ against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. As, President Arif Alvi may ask for a vote of confidence to the PM in the days to come this month. The government is making a plan to conduct general polls on the same day in the country. PTI has also realiSed that they might not get a chance to be part of a constitutional process of selecting caretaker setup in the centre. As, PTI dissident Raja Riaz Ahmed is currently holding the position of leader of the opposition in the National Assembly. Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi Tuesday lashed out at the the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the government for what he called the double standards in accepting the resignations of the PTI’s lawmakers and alleged that this action was taken to save Shehbaz Sharif whose prime ministership was in jeopardy. Talking to the media in Lahore, Qureshi said that the NA speaker’s decision left no doubt about the “double standards” and was taken to achieve desired results for the government. He said the NA Speaker had earlier maintained that he would not accept the resignations until they have been verified individually from each lawmaker. He added even the Supreme Court was advising them to return to parliament and play their parliamentary role. He said that the party had decided to remove the so-called Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, who he said was working as a ‘pocket union’, when the decision was made. “Double standards for accepting resignations are not acceptable. They are willing to do anything to achieve their goals,” headed. He said the resignations of the remaining 125 MNAs should also be accepted by the speaker rather than ‘selective’ resignations. He said chairman Imran Khan will hold consultations on their next course of action. Regarding the return to the National Assembly, he said the decision will be made after consultations. He said selective resignations were done before and Imran Khan won the by-polls. He said Imran Khan might create history and contest all 35 seats. “Whose has given them the right to pick and choose? This is ill-conceived and a mockery of the regulations.