'35 wickets' fall in bid to derail PTI's return to NA.

ISLAMABAD -- In an apparent bid to scuttle PTI's purported plan to bring a confidence motion agaiAnst Prime Minister Shehbaz ShaArif, National Assembly SpeaAker PerAAvaiz Ashraf on Tuesday accepAted the resignations of 34 PTI lawmakers alongside AML chief Sheikh Rashid, resulting in their de-notification by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The ECP communique regarding the de-notification of the members, mostly the top brass of the PTI and former members of Imran Khan's cabinet, came as a surprise for the PTI as well as political experts as only two weeks back, the speaker had refused to accept the resignations.

He had declared that the resignations would only be accepted following the personal appearance of these lawmakers before him for verification.

PPP secretary general FarhatAullah Babar admitted that the move had come from the ruling alliance in response to the threat given by Mr Khan that he might return to parliament only to get the office of the opposition leader and to bring a confidence vote against the prime minister.

'Of course, it is a political decision taken by the speaker. Though I have not talked to him, he must have taken it after consultations [with the leadership]. It is in response to the threat given by Imran Khan that they might move a resolution against the PM,' said Mr Babar while talking to Dawn after this significant development.

The PPP secretary general said it seemed that Imran Khan had now realised his mistake and now wanted to return to the assembly to have a say in the future caretaker setup.

Mr Babar while defending the speaker's action said that the PTI could still return to parliament as it still had some 70 members whose resignations had not been accepted yet. He added the speaker had still left the door open for them, but it would definitely be an 'embarrassing moment' for Mr Khan and his party.

Won't contest by-polls

Meanwhile, PDM leaders hinted at staying away from by-polls on the vacant seats. PDM chief Maulana Fazl, was quoted by Geo News as saying that the ruling alliance would not contest by-elections on seats left vacant by the acceptance of PTI resignations. PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah too, while appearing on Hamid Mir's show, said that in his opinion 'there was no need to contest elections on these seats' which are likely to be held in March A- five months before the term of the current NA ends.

'Accept all resignations'

Reacting to the acceptance of resignations, PTI leader Shah...

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