ECP gives 33 Punjab MPAs a clean sheet
08 February, 2013
ISLAMABAD: A full bench of the Election Commission of Pakistan on Thursday unanimously rejected the reference filed for the disqualification of 33 members of the Punjab Assembly over allegations of dual nationality.
The ECP bench also rejected the request for continuation of the probe with a direction to MPAs to present proof of their single nationality along with past ten years travel records. The bench held that the burden of proof lies on the petitioner and not on the members of the provincial assembly, and the petitioner has relied only on media reports and failed to submit proof, therefore the reference stands rejected.
The ECP bench comprised Chief Election Commissioner Justice (r) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim and included all four provincial members – Justice (r) Riaz Kiyani, Justice (r) Muhammad Roshan Essani, Justice (r) Shahzad Akbar Khan and Justice (r) Fazalur Rehman. 27 members of the Punjab Assembly were also present in the open hearing. They are: Rana Babar Hussain, Dr Farrukh Javed, Dr Tahir Ali Javed, Syed Raza Ali Gillani, Pir Kashif Ali Chishti, Raja Shoukat Aziz Bhatti, Imran Ashraf, Muhammad Yar Hiraj, Tahir Khalil Sindhu, Makhdoom Muhammad Irtaza, Arifa Khalid Pervez, Faiza Ahmed Malik, Ghulam Sarwar, Imran Khalid Butt, Syed Zaeem Hussain Qadri, Shah Jahan Ahmed Bhatti, Ali Haidar Noor Khan Niazi, Hafiz Mian Muhammad Nauman, Mohsim Latif, Mian Tariq Mehmood, Malik Shamshir Haider Watto, Sardar Muhammad Hussain Dogar, Fauzia Behram, Muhammad Saeed Mughal, Makhdoom Syed Iftikhar Hussain Gillani, Razia Joseph, Dr Mussarat Hussain, Dr Samia Ahmed, Zaib Jaffar, Humaira Awais Shahid, Shahan Malik, Tanveerul Islam, Zafar Zulkernain Sahi and Shehryar Riaz.
The ECP held its open hearing on the reference filed by Asif Ezdi against 33 members of the Punjab Assembly at its headquarters. The MPAs in attendance submitted their affidavits testifying that they were only Pakistani nationals. They also told the ECP bench in personal hearing the details of their nationality confirming that they do not hold dual nationality. Members of the ECP, after hearing the points of view of the members of the Punjab Assembly, informed them that it was not the intent of the ECP to call them like a court, but it was a constitutional obligation that has to be performed and the hearing was to provide them an opportunity to complete the constitutional process needed after receipt of a reference.
Petitioner Asif Ezdi told the bench that he was of the view that he has no personal benefit by challenging their qualification as members of the assembly. The election commissioner was of the view that the petitioner has levelled a serious allegation against the MPAs, and the commission has held an open hearing to complete the constitutional process. After completing the hearing and consultation, the full bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner in it's short order announced dismissal of the reference.