Qadri's plea against ECP not maintainable under constitution: CJ Iftikhar
13 February, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Again giving tough time to Tehreek-e-Minhajul Quran (TMQ) chief Tahirul Qadri on his locus standi to file a petition against the Election Commission of Pakistan, the Supreme Court has told him that his loyalty would be discussed because he is attacking a constitutional institution.
The court also said that although it had enlarged the scope of Article 184(3) of the constitution, but it would not allow anyone to attack the constitutional institution. It noted that none of the black coats (lawyers) whose struggle brought democracy are dual nationals. A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, observed that anyone on a visit to Pakistan on a Pakistani passport does not become a Pakistani.
The bench inquired from Qadri whether he has ever approached the courts or any forum in Canada to challenge a constitutional institution. "Give us the judgement of any country where a person who had acquired the nationality had moved against the constitutional institutions," it added. The court referred to Article 5 of constitution several times during the hearing, which demands loyalty to state and obedience to the constitution. It added that a Pakistani should be a Pakistani wherever he may be, but you (Qadri) have taken oath of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth and her successors.
Justice Gulzar Ahmad, in an aggressive manner, said dual nationals have no right to approach the court to challenge the strategic assets, foreign and monitory policy and attack constitutional institutions. He told Qadri that he had returned to the country after a long time and wanted to change the political scenario, which would not be allowed. Justice Ahmad said that "your allegiance is divided. Your allegiance to that country (Canada) is more than (to) Pakistan".
The chief justice asked Qadri to satisfy the court on the petition because the court cannot open a Pandora's box on his petition. He said that the case is of a unique nature and of first impression. "Pakistan is not an orphan nation by the grace of God we are a blessed country. We should be proud of Pakistan," Justice Iftikhar observed. He told the TMQ chief that quo warranto did not come within the Supreme Court's jurisdiction, and he could have gone to some other forum.
The court inquired whether a person who comes to meet his family in Pakistan and then goes back can take part in the country's politics and other activities. Meanwhile, Qadri submitted his concise statement to defend his Canadian nationality during the hearing. He has repeatedly contended before the court that the constitution did not bar him from filing a petition in this matter.
But the chief justice said that according to his own statement he uses his Canadian passport outside Pakistan, which meant that outside Pakistan he was a foreign national and not a Pakistani. "We have great anxiety because for an ordinary citizen it's ok, but does not suit a person of your stature," he observed. The chief justice asked Qadri when did he get the news of constitution of the election commission. "You entered into Pakistan in December and in February moved the apex court against the ECP."
The chief justice said that the Election Commission of Pakistan, established under 18th Amendment, held the by-election which were validated in the 20th Amendment. He said the ECP had not only prepared the electoral lists but done many other things. The politicians who became members of the parliament in elections held under the ECP had not challenged its composition, nor had anyone from outside done so, he noted. The court said Qadri's petition against the composition of the election commission was not maintainable under the constitution.