Fourty-three former lawmakers of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have knocked on the doors of the Lahore High Court, requesting it to set aside the Election Commission of Pakistan’s notifications removing them from their National Assembly seats. Petitioner Riaz Khan Fatyana and 42 other lawmakers filed a petition through Barrister Ali Zafar on Thursday, requesting the court to set aside the two notifications through which their resignations were accepted by the National Assembly Speaker and the seats were declared vacant by the ECP. The petitioners contended that their resignations were subject to the acceptance of all the 123 PTI MNAs, who had resigned en masse from the lower house of Parliament on April 11 last year-two days after party Chairman Imran Khan was ousted as the prime minister. The petitioners have sought directions to quarters concerned to declare that they had withdrawn their resignations by conduct, words, and in writing in accordance with the law prior to any acceptance. They pleaded that the Speaker cannot direct issuance of any notification after withdrawal of their resignations. The notifications issued by NA Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf and the ECP are illegal and unlawful and the court is requested to set them aside, the petitioners contend. The court was also requested that the notifications remain suspended until the final decision of this petition is announced. They petitioners further contended that lawmakers whose resignations were accepted included returned National Assembly candidates “elected vide the general elections 2018 from their respective constituencies as well as MNAs who were elected against reserved seats for women and non-Muslims from the provincial assemblies of Punjab, Sindh and K-P respectively”. “The then-acting Speaker (Deputy Speaker National Assembly Mr Qasim Suri) accepted the resignations but after that the new Speaker giving ruling reversed them with direction to the Secretariat to resubmit the resignations for verification in accordance with the judgments of superior courts,” read the petition. Subsequently, the incumbent speaker decided to hold inquiry and verify each resignation by calling each MNA individually to confirm whether they were willing and ready to resign. After that, the Speaker summoned them but they did not appear for verification as a result of which their resignations were not accepted. Later, neither did they approach the Speaker nor did he call them for verification and the status quo continued. The original resignations hence became redundant as far as the petitioners are concerned, the petition stated. The resignations were therefore never notified or formally accepted by the National Assembly since, after the change of the regime, the Speaker announced that the process for verification would be undertaken afresh. Later on, the petitioners contend, the Speaker in violation of the law and his own ruling accepted resignations of the PTI lawmakers in four phases since July 2022-11 in the first phase, 35 each in the second and third phases, and 43 in the fourth phase. The PTI lawmakers had also approached the Islamabad High Court contending the decision of former acting speaker (Qasim Suri) was valid and the decision to reverse the resignations was wrong. However, the court decided that the then-deputy speaker’s notification, without following the principles of Syed Zafar Ali Shah’s case, was in violation of the Constitution and therefore the process initiated by the Speaker-to call each MNA to verify the genuineness of the resignation-was in consonance with the Constitution. “The order of the court was binding on the Speaker to call each MNA for verification but the same was not adopted,” stated the petition. After the Speaker accepted resignations of 35 MNAs first and then 35 more later, the lawmakers pointed in the plea, they tried to meet the speaker but were not allowed. They stated that they also staged a sit-in on the Ministers’ Enclave, but to no avail. “It was shocking for them that the Speaker accepted 43 more resignations. Since that day, the act of accepting resignations by the Speaker without calling any individual MNA for verification has continued,” they contended. The petition requested the court to declare the Speaker’s ruling and the ECP’s notifications illegal and unlawful.