ISLAMABAD - The three estranged MNAs of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), who had declined to tender their resignations confronting with the party decision to resign, cannot be unseated under the defection clause although Imran Khan has asked National Assembly speaker that they stand disqualified, The Nation has learnt.

National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq cannot disqualify the PTI MNAs mere on the ground that the lawmakers have refused to follow their party decision on resigning en masse from the lower house of the parliament as Article 63-A clearly defines the conditions for a parliament member to become disqualified.

Three PTI MNAs had refused to resign disagreeing with the party decision as on August 4, 2014. The parliamentary party meeting of PTI chaired by its vice-chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi had unanimously decided to hand over their resignations to party chairman Imran Khan, to be submitted to NA speaker as and when the PTI chief deems fit. The party core committee had endorsed this decision.

Imran Khan Friday wrote three separate letters to NA speaker saying that his three party MNAs Gulzar Khan (NA-4), Nasir Khattak (NA-15) and Ms Musarrat Zeb (NA-323) stand disqualified under Article 63-A (Disqualification on grounds of defection, etc).

The letters say that these three MNAs in disregard and disobedience of the unanimous resolution of the parliamentary party, failed to tender their resignations and therefore a show cause notice was issued to them. The letter said either they did not reply to the show cause notices or their replies were found unsatisfactory and untenable to the notices. Imran Khan informed the speaker that in accordance with the PTI constitution, he has terminated their party membership.

“In view of the above, Mr Imran Khan, head of the party and parliamentary leader of Tehreek-i-Insaf in the National Assembly is writing to the declare that all three MNAs have defected from PTI and therefore their seats in the National Assembly are liable to be vacated in terms of Article 63-A of the constitution,” the letters stated. PTI chairman sent copies of the letter to the Chief Election Commissioners and MNAs concerned also.

A senior officer of NA’s Legislation Branch wishing not to be named explained that all three MNAs did not come under defection clause and thus their seats are not liable to be vacated. He said that Article 63-A clearly sets the conditions that bring any member of the national assembly under the defection clause.

Article 63-A says that a member of NA or Senate may be disqualified if he or she “(a) resigns from membership of his political party or joins another Parliamentary Party; or (b) votes or abstains from voting in the House contrary to any direction issued by the Parliamentary Party to which he belongs, in relation to-(i) election of the Prime Minister or the Chief Minister; or (ii) a vote of confidence or a vote of no-confidence; or (iii) a Money Bill or a Constitution (Amendment) Bill”.

The senior officer said that Article 63-A had clearly defined that any member of the parliament would come under defection clause that had either resigned from his political party or had joined another parliamentary party. Any member will not come under this clause if his membership of the party had been terminated or he had been expelled from the party until he had not defected from the party on the three conditions described in the Article 63-A.

The officer said that before the passage of the this Article, senior PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan had opposed the defection clause saying that parliamentarians could not be made subservient to the political parties to such extent that they even could not speak openly in any House. That is why, in the defection clause, certain parameters had been decided to make any parliamentarian to come under the clause, he added.