45 PTI MNAs seek to take back 'already accepted' resignations.

ISLAMABAD -- In a move apparently aimed at preventing National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf from accepting their resignations, a group of 45 PTI lawmakers on Monday sent their handwritten withdrawals to the speaker via email and demanded the nomination of a new opposition leader from amongst them.

The PTI members also met Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja and informed him about their decision to return to the National Assembly after nine months.

However, sources in the Speaker's Office told Dawn that the PTI's decision to send these members back to the assembly had come too late as Mr Ashraf had already accepted the resignations of majority of these lawmakers, adding that the NA Secretariat could not issue a notification in this regard due to the power breakdown in the country. In addition, Parliament House had been sealed after short circuiting was reported there on Sunday night.

Sources said except for some five or six lawmakers - those who had personally contacted Mr Ashraf asking him not to accept their resignations or those who had submitted leave applications to the NA Secretariat - the speaker had now accepted the resignations of all PTI lawmakers and the process had been completed.

A senior ECP official, when contacted, said that he wasn't aware of any new notification from the NA Secretariat. He said the ECP was making arrangements to hold by elections on 71 seats that had fallen vacant after the acceptance of resignations by the speaker and their de-notification.

A total of 131 MNAs had submitted resignations minutes before the election of Shehbaz Sharif as the prime minister in April. The ECP has already de-notified 81 MNAs (including reserved seats), following the acceptance of resignations by the speaker.

Sources in the Speaker's Office said that Mr Ashraf had begun the process of accepting resignations after a PTI delegation led by former speaker Asad Qaiser met him last month and requested him to do so.

Responding to a question, a source close to Mr Ashraf said the speaker had already moved the file, which could be produced before the court, in case the PTI members challenged the decision.

The announcement by the PTI members regarding withdrawal of their resignations came in dramatic fashion as they first reached Parliament House in an attempt to meet the speaker, and, after the guards did not allow them to enter the building, marched to his official residence.

PTI members raised slogans and held...

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