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NA speaker defends decision to accept resignations of PTI lawmakers

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Raja Pervaiz Ashraf

National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Thursday defended his decision to accept the resignations of PTI lawmakers, saying he only did so after they were able to “satisfy him” by proving that it was a “voluntary decision and not under pressure”.

In an apparent bid to scuttle the PTI’s purported plan to bring a confidence motion agai­nst Prime Minister Shehbaz Sha­rif, Ashraf on Tuesday had accepted the resignations of 34 PTI lawmakers alongside Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid, resulting in their de-notification by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

The ECP communiqué 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.

Meanwhile, PTI leader and former NA speaker Asad Qaiser had termed Ashraf’s move to be a “grave injustice” to the speaker’s office.

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“When you occupy a constitutional position, then you should make decisions keeping in mind the law and the Constitution. You have to act in accordance with the law [rather] than fulfilling the wishes of political people,” Qaiser had said.

Speaking to the media on Thursday, the NA speaker said he had accepted the resignations of those lawmakers who had satisfied him that they had tendered the resignations voluntarily as well as those who had made their stance on the matter clear in the media.

Ashraf said that several PTI lawmakers had contacted him, saying they were still pondering over the decision to resign from the lower house of parliament.

“Many PTI members spoke to me on the phone and said they were still thinking about it. They also told me that they were initially told that tendering resignations was only a pressure tactic.”

Ashraf said he became doubtful after hearing such statements and did not accept the resignations till he was completely satisfied. “Before I accept any resignation, I make sure that the person resigning made the decision according to their own will and conscience.”

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He said, “There is a hue and cry when I don’t accept resignations, and a hue and cry when I do.”

Ashraf rejected the claim that he accepted the resignations due to PTI Chairman Imran Khan hinting at the party’s return to the assembly.

“There is nothing as such. The process of accepting the resignations was initiated when the PTI delegation visited me,” he said, referring to the meeting held last month.

“We went over their media statements, their tweets, and their signatures before taking a decision regarding their resignations.”

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Pakistan mourns President Raisi’s death; PM, president express sorrow

Pakistan mourns President Raisi’s death; PM, president express sorrow

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Pakistan mourns President Raisi's death; PM, president express sorrow

 Pakistan is observing a day of mourning today to express solidarity with the people of Iran following the shocking news of the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash in the country’s northwest.

“Pakistan will observe a day of mourning, and the flag will fly at half-mast as a mark of respect for President Raisi and his companions and in solidarity with Brotherly Iran,” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif wrote in a post on social media platform X, expressing shock over the demise.

“Had been anxiously following developments regarding the reported crash landing of President Raisi’s helicopter. Was hoping for good news. Alas, this was not to be,” PM Shehbaz remarked as he extended deepest condolences and sympathies to the Iranian people on behalf of the government and people of Pakistan.

Shehbaz prayed that may Allah grant the martyrs a high place in Jannat al-Firdous and give patience to their families and the Iranian nation for this tragedy.

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“Pakistan had the pleasure of hosting President Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian on a historic visit less than a month ago. They were good friends of Pakistan,” the premier added in his post.

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Turkish FM meets COAS Munir, lauds army’s role for regional peace, stability

Turkish FM meets COAS Munir, lauds army’s role for regional peace, stability

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Turkish FM meets COAS Munir, lauds army's role for regional peace, stability

 Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir here on Monday.

According to the military’s media wing, the army chief and the Turkish minister discussed matters of mutual interest during the meeting.

The Turkish minister appreciated the role of the Pakistan Army in maintaining peace and stability in the region, the ISPR said in a statement.

The two leaders expressed their satisfaction at the deep bilateral relations based on historical, cultural and religious ties between the two countries.

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Foreign Minister of Turkiye Hakan Fidan arrived in Pakistan for a two-day official visit on Sunday.

According to the Foreign Office, Additional Foreign Secretary Ahmed Naseem Warraich received the foreign dignitary at the airport.

The Turkish minister will also hold a meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, a spokesperson for the Foreign Office said.

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LHC gives Punjab government ultimatum for judges’ appointment

LHC gives Punjab government ultimatum for judges’ appointment

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LHC gives Punjab government ultimatum for judges' appointment

The Lahore High Court (LHC) has issued an ultimatum to the Punjab government regarding the appointment of judges.

Chief Justice Shehzad Ahmed Khan presided over a hearing on the Punjab government’s petition to transfer cases from LHC’s anti-terrorism court 1 Rawalpindi to another court.

During the proceedings, the advocate general Punjab informed the court that a government committee had consulted with Punjab Chief Minister on the matter of judges’ appointment, assuring that it had been prioritized for the upcoming cabinet session.

However, Chief Justice Khan inquired about the timeline for the next cabinet session, expressing dissatisfaction with the absence of immediate action.

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The Chief Justice ruled that either a special cabinet meeting should have been called or the government committee should have appeared before the court after completing its task.

In response, the advocate general assured that the matter would be resolved in the cabinet session scheduled for Friday.

Expressing dismay over the absence of the government committee in court, Chief Justice Khan deemed it disrespectful.

The advocate general promptly promised the committee’s presence within half an hour upon receiving the court’s call order.

Consequently, the court directed the Punjab CM and the cabinet to issue a notification regarding judges’ appointment before the next hearing.

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The court also warned that if the notification was not issued by then, the Punjab Chief Minister would be required to appear in the next hearing.

Addressing any potential concerns, the advocate general clarified that the government had no objections to the names recommended by the court for judges’ appointment.

Consequently, the case hearing has been adjourned until May 24.

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