Imran Khan, who heads the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, has decided to contest the by-elections to 33 seats in the National Assembly in March, The Express Tribune reported citing senior party leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi. “We have decided to participate in the bypolls and Imran Khan will contest from all seats,” Mr Qureshi announced Sunday.
Earlier, on Friday, The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced that bypolls to the 33 seats would be held on March 16. The seats fell vacant after Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf accepted the resignations of PTI lawmakers.
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry had already announced earlier this month the party chief’s decision to contest by-elections on all vacant National Assembly seats, according to The Express Tribune.
“Tehreek-e-Insaf will contest elections on all the seats and Imran Khan will be the candidate of Tehreek-e-Insaf on these 33 seats,” Mr Chaudhry had said in a statement on Twitter on January 17.
Mr Qureshi said people had also supported PTI during the July 17 bypolls, and the party hopes that the masses would once again express their confidence in Imran Khan on March 16 with their votes.
He said that ECP was mandated to hold elections within 90 days after seats become vacant, and it would be a violation of the constitution if they are not held on time.
The PTI leader said they were not in contact with the establishment, according to The Express Tribune.
Earlier in the month, Mr Ashraf accepted the resignations of 35 more PTI lawmakers, the Dawn newspaper reported.
The PTI lawmakers had resigned en masse from the lower house of the parliament after the party chief Imran Khan’s ouster from the National Assembly in April 2022.
But, Mr Ashraf had accepted only 11 of the resignations, stating that the remaining lawmakers would be summoned individually for verification.
After stalling the process for eight months, Mr Ashraf, accepted the resignations of 34 more PTI lawmakers and of Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid as the party hinted it would “test” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif with a confidence vote.
Now, the total number of PTI lawmakers whose resignations have been accepted stands at 80, the Pakistan-based news portal said.
The resignations of Haider Ali Khan, Saleem Rehman, Sahibzada Sibghatullah, Mehboob Shah, Muhammad Bashir Khan, Junaid Akbar, Sher Akbar Khan, Ali Khan Jadoon, Engr Usman Khan Tarakai, and Mujahid Ali, were accepted among others.
From the reserved seats, the resignations of Andaleeb Abbas, Asma Qadeer, Maleeka Ali Bokhari, and Munawara Bibi Baloch, were accepted, reported Dawn.
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