KARACHI - Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain said Monday that lawmakers whose membership had been suspended were brought to the National Assembly with the excuse of a joint parliamentary session to debate the crisis in Yemen.

The MQM chief was referring to members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), who returned to Parliament on Monday after a seven-month boycott of assemblies.

“Just like you have to get married again, a lawmaker has to contest election again once he has resigned from his seat,” said Altaf, calling the PTI lawmakers ‘illegitimate’ members.

Speaking to a private news channel, the MQM chief said Parliament was told today (Monday) that Pakistan would defend Saudi Arabia at any cost, whereas it is the United Nations Security Council which decides which countries will participate in case of aggression against a nation.

He said India had been given observer status in the Arab League, while Pakistan was not even a member.  Saudi Arabia should instead have asked India for help, he remarked.  He said if it were about the security of the Holy Ka’aba or Makkah, he would break all barriers and go there himself.

The MQM chief said the holy cities of Makkah and Madina were worthy of respect, but Saudi Arabia was only a country like Yemen or any other nation. He asked if any other nation had sent their forces to Pakistan to help it in Zarb-e-Azb operation against terrorists.

Meanwhile, MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar, talking to media after the joint parliamentary session on Monday, said the sitting was unconstitutional. He said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) members had resigned from the parliament.

PTI members returned to assemblies after ages...it should also be clear that these were the members who had tendered their resignations, he added.

“Under clause (1) of Article 64 of the Constitution, it is evident that when a parliamentarian tenders his resignation, it is considered as such and that parliamentarian should no longer attend House proceedings.”

He further said there was “no question of accepting or rejecting a resignation...a resignation is a resignation and takes on constitutional importance once it is tendered.”

Sattar said even if National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq permitted PTI members to return to NA after a seven-month gap, it was not an authorised behaviour on his part.

“Being custodian of the Parliament and chairing the joint session, if the speaker violates clause (a) of Article 64 of the Constitution and other members of the House, too, maintain silence on the pretext of democracy, it is tantamount to making fun of both democracy and the Constitution.”

“If a parliamentarian remains absent from House proceedings for 40 consecutive days then he is automatically de-seated from NA membership,” Sattar maintained.

“We have been mandated to protect the Constitution and until we get a response on this, we will continue to boycott the Parliament and record our protest. If need arises we will also go to court,” he said.

Continuing the tirade against PTI, MQM leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said the party tried to tell Sadiq that there were strangers, na-mehram in the Parliament.

He said resignations were like three divorces - which if tendered once were accepted. He resembled Monday’s NA proceedings with a divorce and subsequently termed the joint session of the Parliament completely unconstitutional. “If these strangers can attend proceedings, then any of you [reporters] can,” he said.

He said their objection over PTI lawmakers’ participation in the Parliament’s joint session persisted even before it started and it should have been addressed by the NA speaker.

The MQM members resolved to continue demonstration of protest in light of ‘unconstitutional activities’ in the parliament.