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Brewing Crisis In Pakistan – OpEd

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According to Pakistan’s leading English newspaper, Dawn, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader, Farrukh Habib on Thursday said the resignations of 123 legislators of his party had been accepted by acting speaker of the National Assembly, Qasim Suri. 

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A notification has also been issued in this regard, the ex-minister said in a tweet.

Habib said general elections had now become inevitable in the country after the acceptance of resignations submitted by the PTI lawmakers.

It may be recalled that Pakistan Peo­ples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz on Wednesday accused National Assembly’s former deputy speaker Qasim Suri of pressuring the NA Secretariat into sending resignations of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf MNAs to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) without meeting constitutional obligations.

The two parties — now in government — claimed that Suri had committed violation of the Constitution by approving the resignations without listening to them in person.

Meanwhile, sources told Dawn that some of the PTI lawmakers had approached NA Secretariat with a request not to accept their resignations.

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Sherry Rehman, PPP’s parliamentary leader in the Senate, said at a press conference, along with PML-N leader Ayaz Sadiq that Qasim Suri had once again violated the law. 

“Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri claims that he has verified the signatures; however, that is not the case,” she said.

PPP senator said, according to Rule 43 of National Assembly Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, every member must individually appear before the speaker for signature verification and confirming the resignation.

“This procedure has not been followed as the PTI MNAs presented resignations jointly. Numerous PTI MNAs have come forth saying that the current procedure followed by the PTI was not only illegal but also unjust as they do not wish to resign, yet are being forced to do so,” she added.

Ms Rehman claimed some members were complaining that their resignations had forged signatures and the NA Secretariat was being pressured into accepting these. She said the ECP must take notice of these violations and the NA Secretariat be directed to ensure that the constitutional procedure for resignations was followed.

“We are confident about our growing majority and will continue to take forward our agenda of ridding parliament of all those subverting the Constitution and its rules.”

Ms Rehman said PPP and joint opposition had, after a long-drawn-out battle, ousted the “destructive, divisive and self-obsessed PTI government” through a democratic and constitutional path of a vote of no confidence. 

“The whole country has been witness to the PTI leaders’ shameful subversions of the law and their one goal to remain in power at any cost to the nation,” she added.

PTI on Monday had decided to resign from the National Assembly, minutes before the election for the new prime minister was scheduled.

The decision was taken in a party’s parliamentary meeting, which was chaired by PTI Chairman Imran Khan, at the Parliament House on Monday.

“The parliamentary party has decided to resign from the assemblies against the imported government,” PTI Central Information Secretary Farrukh Habib said in a tweet.

Immediately after the announcement, Murad Saeed tendered his resignation as member of the NA — the first from the party.

Speaking to Dawn television channel shortly afterwards, he confirmed that he made the decision in line with the party’s narrative. He reiterated the former prime minister’s claims of a foreign conspiracy, stating that sitting in the NA after these revelations would be akin to be being a part of this plot.

“Should foreign powers have the right to make or break governments in Pakistan?” he asked.

Saeed also highlighted the charges against the opposition’s candidate for Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif. “They were and are corrupt,” he added.

Former Maritime Affairs minister Ali Haider Zaidi also followed suit, announcing his resignation on Twitter. He said he had submitted his resignation to the party chairman.

“No way should we legitimize this foreign-funded regime change in Pakistan. The battle for the sovereignty of Pakistan will now be decided on the streets by the people, not the looters,” he said.

Former Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur also shared a photo of his resignation on the party’s letterhead.

“I am proud to be a follower of Imran Khan and will fight till my death for the freedom of Pakistan and parliament,” he said.

PTI leaders Shireen Mazari, Hammad Azhar, and Shafaqt Mahmood shared their resignations on Twitter too.

Earlier, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry had said that the decision to resign was tied to the acceptance of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif’s nomination papers for Prime Minister’s elections, to which the PTI had raised objections.

He said it was a great injustice that Shehbaz would be contesting the election for the prime minister on the same day he is to be indicted in a money laundering case.

“What can be more insulting for Pakistan that a foreign selected and foreign imported government is imposed on it and a person like Shehbaz is made its head,” he rued.

It is pertinent to mention that a special court (Central-I) of the Federal Investigation Agency was to indict Shehbaz and his son, Hamza, in a Rs14 billion money laundering case on the same but the court deferred the indictment.

Shehbaz Sarif and PTI’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi were in the race to become the country’s new prime minister.

Shabbir H. Kazmi

Shabbir H. Kazmi is an economic analyst from Pakistan. He has been writing for local and foreign publications for about quarter of a century. He maintains the blog ‘Geo Politics in South Asia and MENA’. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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