In another immediate relief to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday suspended the order of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that denotified 70 lawmakers of the former ruling party who had resigned en masse last year in April.
The National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf, the ECP, and other parties were given notices to respond by March 7 after a single-member LHC bench led by Judge Shahid Karim heard the PTI’s appeal today.
After the high court suspended a similar order of the ECP regarding 43 PTI MNAs, the lawmakers went to the high court to challenge the commission’s acceptance of their resignation and ensuing denotification.
Shiekh Rashid, an associate of Imran Khan, was among the 35 MNAs whose resignation Speaker Ashraf was accepted on January 20. The resignations were later denotified by the commission and by-elections were announced.
Riaz Fatyana and 42 other MNAs who had their resignations “received by the NA Speaker Ashraf on January 22” had earlier this month submitted a petition contesting the actions of the NA speaker and the ECP.
On February 8, the LHC judge issued an order suspending the ECP’s notification and prohibiting it from announcing the dates of the seats’ elections.
“The process of by-elections to these seats shall remain suspended,” the court order reads. The court had admitted the petition for regular hearing seeking replies from the NA speaker, the ECP, and the federal government by March 7.