'NA session postponed to counter PTI's 'planned return'.

ISLAMABAD -- In a surprise move, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Thursday put off the National Assembly (NA) session, scheduled to be held today (Friday), for a week without giving a reason.

'The session of the National Assembly scheduled to be held at 11am on Friday (Jan 20) will now be held on January 27,' says an official announcement by the NA Secretariat, adding that the speaker had done so under Rule 49 of the Rules and Procedure for the Conduct of Business in the NA 2007.

The move came after reports emerged that the PTI planned to send those members to the assembly on Friday, whose resignations have not been accepted so far.

PTI Vice President Fawad Chaudhry confirmed to Dawn that the party had convened a meeting of its parliamentary group at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House on Friday, from where the party members would go to Parliament House to meet the speaker.

After earlier insisting that he could not act on the resignations submitted by PTI lawmakers without personally verifying them, the speaker on Tuesday took a U-turn and accepted the resignations of 34 PTI lawmakers and AML chief Sheikh Rashid in a bid to scuttle PTI's purported plan to bring a confidence motion against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

On Monday, PTI Chairman Imran Khan had hinted at returning to the National Assembly to ensure that the 'party turncoats' did not help PM Shehbaz get a vote of confidence that the party was planning to put the premier to the 'test'.

With PTI dissident Raja Riaz holding the parliamentary party leader's position in the National Assembly, PTI fears that he may decide to vote in favour of the prime minister if President Dr Arif Alvi asks Shehbaz Sharif to take the trust vote.

Raja Riaz is currently the opposition leader and leads the group of PTI MNAs who did not tender their resignations when the party decided to quit the assembly in the aftermath of Imran Khan's ouster as PM in last April.

There were reports that the PTI was also weighing an option to go back to the assembly to claim the office of the opposition leader to have a say in the process of the formation of the future caretaker government before the next elections.

The PTI alleges that the speaker had accepted the resignations of 35 members in a haste and under the fear of losing the 'friendly' opposition leader.

Talking to Dawn, Fawad Chaudhry said the speaker's act of putting off the NA session had exposed the real face of the ruling alliance which was afraid of...

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