Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani on Wednesday accepted the withdrawal of PML-N Senator Nehal Hashmi’s resignation from the Upper House of Parliament.
Rabbani said Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq should be informed of the development.
According to Rabbani’s detailed ruling on the matter. Hashmi had tendered his resignation from his seat in the Senate on the grounds that “due to certain circumstances”, he could not continue discharging his responsibilities as a lawmaker.
The document adds that Hashmi was directed to appear in his chambers to “ascertain whether the resignation is genuine, voluntary, and he intends to relinquish his seat in the Senate.” However, the senator had stated “a variety of reasons, including extenuating circumstances” and requested his meeting with the chairman be postponed.
The ruling adds that on Tuesday, Hashmi appeared in the chairman’s chambers and “handed over an application for [the] withdrawl of his resign [sic]”.
Water and power minister Abid Sher Ali criticised Rabbani’s decision on the floor of National Assembly, claiming that the resignation not being accepted was part of a conspiracy.
In the application, Hashmi said that he had tendered his resignation “under quite unusual circumstances”.
Hashmi had submitted his resignation to the Senate Chairman last week after the release of a video clip showing him hurling threats against the judiciary.
After the senator requested the withdrawal of his resignation, a delegation of legislators from the ruling party, led by Raja Zafarul Haq, requested the Senate chairman to accept Hashmi’s earlier resignation, since he had already been suspended from the party following the release of a controversial video.
In the video, the senator had warned that those conducting the investigation will be “taken to task” for grilling the premier’s family. His remarks were apparently made in reference to a Supreme Court-sanctioned investigation into the Sharif family’s business dealings abroad.
Constitutional and legal experts, weighing in on Hashmi’s withdrawal of his resignation, had said that the Senate chairman cannot declare Hashmi’s seat vacant, since there is no such provision in the Constitution or relevant laws.
In his capacity as PML-N president, Pri¬me Minister Nawaz Sharif has also constituted a five-member “National Ethics and Disciplinary Commit¬tee” to conduct a probe against Hashmi and submit its report within five days.
PM Sharif constituted the committee, headed by Raja Zafarul Haq, as per Section 147 of the party constitution, which describes the process of initiating any extreme disciplinary action, such as expulsion from the party.
PML-N Information Sec¬retary Mushahidullah Khan said that under the party constitution, no member can be expelled from the party without giving him or her an opportunity to defend themselves.
He revealed that the party leadership was extremely angry with Mr Hashmi — first for his tirade against the judiciary and then for withdrawing his resignation from the Senate.
He said the committee would provide Hashmi a chance to present his point of view and he might be called to appear before the committee.
The surprise move provided opposition parties another opportunity to attack the ruling party and the prime minister.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) spokesperson Shafqat Mehmood said that Hashmi’s plea to the Senate chairman had “[unmasked the] whole melodrama against the superior judiciary and the joint investigation team (JIT), directed and produced by the PML-N.”
“It is an indisputable fact that Nehal Hashmi’s contrived speech was a part of the ruling party’s stratagem,” he said, adding that the PML-N had been plugging away to impede investigation and make the JIT controversial.