SC moves on to 'hidden' dual nationality MPs
23 September, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Taking notice of media reports about lawmakers who still hold dual nationalities, the Supreme Court on Saturday sought details from Interior Minister Rehman Malik in this regard.
On September 22, in a statement, the interior minister said that a number of dual national legislators were still sitting in assemblies, adding that he would produce evidence in this regard, if asked.
The court also took notice of a report published in an English newspaper claimed that Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid lawmaker Begum Shahnaz Sheikh is an Australian-Pakistani, who has been Australian citizen for 16 years. The court sent letter to Shahnaz and the reporter in this regard.
Earlier, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Chaudhry directed the SC office to send letters to Senator Rehman Malik and the reporter to provide details to substantiate the stand taken by them, enabling the court to deal with all of them equally in terms of Article 25 read with Article 5 of the constitution.
Article 5 says, "Loyalty to the state is the basic duty of every citizen and that obedience to the constitution and law is the inviolable obligation of every citizen wherever he may be, and of every other person for the time being within Pakistan."
Article 25 says, "All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law."
The CJP said in view of these provisions, the reporter, Malik, and all citizens of Pakistan were under a constitutional duty to be loyal to the state and obedient to the constitution and the law.
"Thus, they are required to assist the court to ensure that there is no discrimination among the parliamentarians and members of the provincial assemblies, who being the holders of dual citizenship under Article 63(1)(c) of the constitution are disqualified from being elected or chosen as, and from being, members of parliament," he added.
The CJP also directed the office to send letter to Shahnaz through the National Assembly's secretary to confirm or deny the information given in the newspapers. "The information so solicited be furnished on or before 27.09.2012, so that further proceedings, if need be, may be initiated on judicial side," Justice Iftikhar said.
On September 20, a three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry, announced the short order on the petition filed under Article 184(3) of the constitution pleading the disqualification of the dual national lawmakers in terms of Article 63(1)(c) of the constitution.
The court in a constitutional petition disqualified MNA Chaudhry Zahid Iqbal, MNA Farahnaz Ispahani, MNA Farhat Mehmood Khan, MNA Jamil Ahmad Malik, MPA Muhammad Akhlaq, Punjab MPA Dr Muhammad Ashraf Chohan, Sindh MPA Nadia Gabol, Punjab MPA Chaudhry Waseem Qadir, Punjab MPA Chaudhry Nadeem Khadim, Punjab MPA Amna Buttar, Sindh MPA Dr Ahmad Ali Shah under Article 63(1)(c) of the constitution for holding dual nationality.
The SC had also directed the Election Commission of Pakistan to de-notify the membership of the lawmakers. The court had said Interior Minister Rehman Malik should lose his Senate seat for making a false statement in election papers.
The Senate chairman has been asked to send a reference against Senator Rehman Malik under Article 63(2) in view of the provision of Section 99(1)(f) of Representation of Peoples Act 1976, which says, "A person shall not be qualified from being elected or chosen as a member of an Assembly unless he is sagacious, righteous and non-profligate and honest and ameen."