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Shahbaz gets clean slate from SC on dual nationality

18 October, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has discharged a notice against Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in the dual nationality case after a clarification by opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly Raja Riaz that his statement was misinterpreted.

Despite the court's notice, the Punjab CM did not appear before the court. He, however, submitted a written reply regarding the matter through his counsel Mustafa Ramday, denying holding any other nationality.

Raja Riaz, appearing before a three-judge bench along with his lawyer, denied the news report in various newspapers. He, however, said his statement was based on media reports, and that he had no information whether Sharif was a dual national.

CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry said Riaz could have clarified his statement after the publication of the news report. On the intervention of the counsels and PML-N MNA Naseer Bhutta, the CM's lawyer agreed the proceeding should be dropped against Raja Riaz for issuing the statement.

Meanwhile, the court restored the membership of MPA Waseem Qadir after he informed the bench that he holds permanent residency of Norway and is not a Norwegian national. The court also disqualified PML-Q MNA Begum Shehnaz Sheikh under Article 63(1)(c) for being a dual national of Australia. The court directed the National Assembly secretary to recover monetary benefits from her, which she enjoyed as an MNA. The ECP was ordered to proceed against her in accordance with law.

Munir Paracha, counsel for MNA Ghulam Mujtaba Rai, who also appeared on behalf of Begum Shehnaz and Raja Riaz, said Rai renounced his Canadian nationality in May 2007, before contesting the 2008 election. He provided proof of his claim. The court, however, issued a notice to journalist Umer Cheema for his views on the same.

Paracha also admitted before the bench that Shehnaz is a dual national of Australia. He informed the court that she had resigned voluntarily therefore the judgement related to refund of benefits. The ECP and National Assembly secretary have been directed to proceed against her in accordance with law. Also, Interior Minister Rehman Malik was asked to submit by today (Thursday) the list of parliamentarians whom he accused of holding dual nationality. The case has been adjourned for two weeks.

End.

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