ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers on Monday submitted en-masse resignations in the National Assembly as the party chairman Imran Khan has refused to be a part of election of Shehbaz Sharif as Prime Minister, saying he won’t give legitimacy to the ‘corruption king’. The decision was made during the PTI’s parliamentary party meeting held on Sunday.
“We will not sit in this Assembly under any circumstances where a person wanted by FIA in corruption charges and money laundering,” Khan said, adding that PTI will not sit in the Assembly with the “people who have robbed Pakistan” and who have been “imported by foreign forces”.
“We have made this decision to keep the institutions under pressure who want this government to run the country […] we will not let them continue.”
“The man who has 16 billion and 8 billion rupees of corruption cases, whoever selects and elects the Prime Minister can not be a big insult to the country. We are resigning from the National Assembly,” Imran Khan was quoted as saying. He stated that the entire country saw the power of PTI on Sunday night as hordes of people.
Almost all the MNAs including Hammad Azhar, Farrukh Habib, Shehryar Afridi, Ali Zaidi, Murad Saeed, Shireen Mazari, Shafqat Mahmood, Ali Amin Gandapur, Ali Mohammad Khan and others have resigned.
“A man facing two separate corruption charges of Rs16 billion and Rs8 billion being selected or elected the prime minister is the biggest disrespect to the country,” Khan told the media after chairing a meeting of the PTI parliamentary committee. “We are resigning.”
The move was being anticipated since early Sunday when Chaudhry said party MPs will tender their resignations if the party’s reservations on Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif’s candidature as the prime minister are not addressed.
“The parliamentary party has decided to resign from the assemblies against the imported government,” PTI Central Information Secretary Farrukh Habib confirmed in a tweet.
Immediately after the announcement, Murad Saeed tendered his resignation as member of the NA — the first from the party.
Speaking to DawnNewsTV 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 we should legitimise 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 these 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.
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.