- PTI leaders had filed plea against ECP’s disqualification notice.
- Court stops ECP from conducting by-elections in Islamabad.
- IHC issues notices to parties and seeks their replies.
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) suspended on Wednesday the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) order denotifying Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers Asad Umar, Ali Nawaz Awan and Raja Khurram Shahzad Nawaz.
National Assembly (NA) Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf had accepted the resignations of the PTI lawmakers who resigned en masse after PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s ouster as the prime minister last year.
The speaker had sent the notice denotifying the MNAs to the electoral body, however, the three PTI leaders filed a petition challenging the ECP’s notification.
The case was heard by the IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq. Lawyer Ali Zafar represented the three PTI leaders — Umar, Awan and Nawaz — in the court.
The court restricted the ECP from conducting by-elections in Islamabad and also suspended Speaker Ashraf’s notification accepting the resignations of the party lawmakers.
During the hearing, the court said referring to the PTI’s lawyer and said: “Earlier you said that the resignations were not being accepted and now you are saying that they were accepted wrongly.”
At this, Barrister Zafar said that the Election Commission and the speaker issued the notification.
“Have you challenged these notifications?” inquired the court.
At this, Zafar said that his clients want to be a part of the assembly again.
The IHC also issued notices to the parties and sought their replies.
The resignation saga
In April last year, the party’s lawmakers resigned en masse from the NA after the PTI chief was ousted from power through a no-confidence motion.
At first, the resignations of only 11 MNAs were accepted by the NA speaker. However, on January 17 and January 20 this year, the resignations of 34 and 35 more PTI MNAs were accepted respectively.
Several MNAs then withdrew their resignations and requested the speaker not to accept them. However, on January 22, the NA speaker accepted the last batch of resignations.
Subsequently, the 43 MNAs took their grievance to the Lahore High Court (LHC), which on February 8 suspended the ECP’s orders.
Later, several other PTI MNAs approached the LHC for similar relief. The court, however, only instructed the ECP to suspend the denotification of PTI MNAs from Punjab.
The electoral body on February 21 — in line with the LHC’s order — suspended its denotification announcement of 32 PTI MNAs. Moreover, it also halted the by-polls in those constituencies.