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49 PPP members resign en masse

PPP leader Benazir Bhutto has secured the resignation letters of 49 legislators of her party.

india Updated: Jul 21, 2006 10:37 IST

As part of the opposition's plan to resign en masse if Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf seeks re-election by the same assemblies before next year's polls, PPP leader Benazir Bhutto has secured the resignation letters of 49 legislators of her party.

The resignation letters of PPP Members of National Assembly and Senate were given to the former Prime Minister during a meeting in London on Wednesday, Pakistan People's Party Spokesman Faratullah Babar said.

Twenty-one more Parliamentarians of the party, who could not go to London, would submit their resignations to the party leadership in Pakistan, he said.

PPP won 81 seats in the 342-member National Assembly in the 2002 elections emerging as the second largest party next to ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q), which failed to secure a majority.

Subsequently PPP strength in the National Assembly come down to 59 as 22 MNAs of the party defected to government benches which PPP blames on pressure mounted by intelligences agencies.

Besides 59 MNAs in the National Assembly, the party has nine members in the Senate. Babar said the Senators too gave their resignation letters to Bhutto even though the call was only for MNAs.

He said the collection of resignations was the first step in their strategy to thwart Musharraf's plans to get re-elected by the same assemblies.

If Musharraf goes ahead with his plans, the party leadership may forward the resignations to Speakers of the National Assembly and Senate as a protest. Other opposition parties were expected to follow suit.

The London meeting also discussed the party's plans to move a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz next month.

The decision to move a no-confidence motion was taken during Bhutto's meeting with former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in London where the two also decided to move an impeachment motion against Musharraf.

The PPP and Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-N are part of the 16-party opposition grouping, Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD).