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PTI’s en masse resignations suspicious: IHC

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  • PTI MNA Shakoor Shad says he never resigned.
  • IHC directs Shad to continue as lawmaker.
  • Court issues notices to ECP, NA Secretariat.

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) remarked Friday that PTI’s en masse resignations have become suspicious after a lawmaker from the party said he did not resign from his National Assembly seat.

PTI MNA Abdul Shakoor Shad challenged his resignation in the IHC, saying that he had expressed solidarity with the 123 MNAs who had left their seats, but he never resigned.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had de-notified 11 MNAs of the PTI, including Shad after former deputy speaker Qasim Suri sent the resignations of 123 PTI lawmakers.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard Shad’s case. The justice directed him to continue working as a lawmaker and also nullified the ECP notification that de-notified him.

Two days after PTI Chairman Imran Khan was ousted as the prime minister — through a no-confidence motion moved by the then-opposition — all PTI MNAs resigned en masse on April 11.

Suri — who was performing his duties as the acting NA speaker after Asad Qaiser resigned as the speaker — had accepted all the resignations on April 15.

However, once Raja Pervez Ashraf was appointed as the speaker, he decided to verify the resignations of all MNAs by interviewing them individually.

The decision was taken after reports that several resignations submitted by the lawmakers were typed and not handwritten — which is against the NA’s rules.

‘Solidarity, not resignation’

Shad’s lawyer told the IHC that his client’s party had taken his signature to show “solidarity” with other lawmakers who had resigned.

“The resignation, however, was typed by a computer operator of the party, which does not include a date and neither does it have an address,” he informed the court.

The lawyer said that Shad was involved in the parliamentary proceedings as well. His attendance records are also present from the month of July, the counsel said.

“So, was he ever called for a confirmation of his resignation?” the IHC inquired, to which the lawyer responded that Shad was asked to come in once, but could not go as he was sick.

“But after that, he did participate in the sittings of the standing committees,” the lawyer added.

Following the arguments, the court directed Shad to continue as a lawmaker. IHC CJ Minallah then issued notices to the ECP and the NA Secretariat, seeking answers from them within two weeks.

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PTI received unwelcome respite, according to Rana Sanaullah

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In the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) reserved seat dispute, the government would respect the majority ruling of the Supreme Court, according to PMLN senior leader and advisor on political affairs Rana Sanaullah Khan.

He stated that after examining the decision, the government’s legal team would react appropriately. According to Rana Sanaullah, the legal team would determine whether or not to submit a review petition.

“SIC petitions were rejected but PTI was given that relief which was neither asked in the petition nor contest during the proceeding,” asserted Rana Sanaullah in response to the ruling.

He argued that because parties established administrations with a simple majority, the PMLN-led unity movement did not have a two-thirds majority.

According to Rana Sanaullah, PTI should challenge election tribunal rulings, with the government carrying out the rulings.

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The membership of Sher Afzal Marwat has been suspended by PTI.

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According to sources, PTI officials convened with imprisoned party founder Imran Khan on Thursday to make a decision over Marwat.

The party authorities alleged that Sher Afzal Marwat had been consistently breaching party discipline over the past month.

“In the meeting with Imran Khan, it was mutually agreed that no leader holds a superior position within the party, and any other leaders who deviate from the party’s stance will face similar consequences,” they stated.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has recently issued a show-cause notice to Sher Afzal Marwat due to his irresponsible utterances.

The notice, issued by PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub Khan, requires Marwat to provide an explanation for his utterances within a three-day period. These statements have been considered harmful to the party’s reputation.

The notification declares that making such utterances goes against the party’s code of conduct and contravenes the explicit directives of the party’s founder, Imran Khan, who has underscored the significance of accountable conduct.

Marwat was cautioned that if they fail to react or offer a satisfactory explanation, it could result in additional disciplinary measures.

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Supporting phone tapping for “national security,” Khawaja Asif

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In the continuous fight against terrorism, Defense Minister Khawaja Asif has stated that he is a strong supporter of security agencies’ phone tapping practices.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, particularly party head Omer Ayub, criticized and engaged in contentious arguments following Asif’s statements.

The significance of phone tapping for national security was emphasized by Khawaja Asif in an interview with a foreign media source. “Terrorism is the enemy that we fight. Given the circumstances, I will be in favor of phone tapping,” he said.

Noting that the phone tapping matter is presently being handled through the legal system, he further urged that everyone support the measure. “Phone tapping is necessary for national security,” he asserted.

By highlighting the PTI’s erratic position on the issue, the defense minister also rejected the party’s concerns as hypocritical.

Every action, whether legal and illegal, seemed acceptable to Imran Khan, the founder of the Pakistan Taliban, when he was on good terms with the authorities.” Asif said, “The same thing is hateful to his followers today.”

In order to prevent terrorism and protect national security, Asif emphasized the importance of phone tapping. Under the present conditions, I will be in favor of phone tapping. The fight against terrorism required it, he declared. In these difficult circumstances, he also urged detractors to think about the wider effects of security precautions.

After former prime minister Imran Khan complained about his phone being tapped, Asif hinted that the PTI’s present protests are politically motivated by pointing to earlier instances in which they had a positive relationship with the establishment.

For the purpose of maintaining national security and preventing any criminal activity, the central government granted Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the nation’s premier spy agency, permission to tap phones on July 8. A notification stating that Section 54 of the Pakistan Telecommunication Act 1996 permits ISI to record phone calls has been issued. Anything that falls under the notification category can be recorded by it.

The notice included a call recording feature in addition to the ability to track messages and calls. Subject to the prime minister’s approval, ISI personnel ranked 18th or higher are granted this authority. It will be feasible to record WhatsApp calls, SMS, and other applications in addition to cell calls, the release states.

Notably, on June 30, Justice Babar Sattar of the Islamabad High Court said that it is legally unlawful to monitor civilians in any way in the case of the audio leaks involving the son of former chief justice Saqib Nisar and Bushra Bibi. According to his ruling, the prime minister and the cabinet bear both collective and individual responsibility for the widespread surveillance of four million citizens carried out by the federal government through the system.

The prime minister should acquire intelligence agency reports and bring the issue before the cabinet, the court judgment stated. Furthermore, according to the decision, the prime minister must report to the court on the Lawful Management System within six weeks.

“The prime minister will tell whether the surveillance of citizens is going on against the law and constitution,” the court stated.

Along with identifying who is in charge of the surveillance system that is interfering with citizens’ privacy, he should also disclose who installed the Lawful Interception Management System and mass surveillance. By July 5, all telecom firms were ordered by the court to submit their reports about the Lawful Interception Management System.

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