Evading laws: SC demands details of dual national legislators

Published: March 13, 2012

ECP seeks more time to file comprehensive report.

ISLAMABAD: 

In response to a petition filed by a citizen Akhtar Mehmood Naqvi, the Supreme Court on Monday sought details from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and all four provinces of the lawmakers who have dual nationalities.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heard the petition regarding the disqualification of lawmakers holding dual nationalities on Monday.

Naqvi had filed the writ petition under article 184 (3) of the Constitution, citing media reports that more than 35 legislators – including Interior Minister Rehman Malik – were holding dual nationalities.

He requested the court to ask the ECP to submit a complete record of these lawmakers and disqualify them, subsequently. Naqvi claimed: “I have information that Interior Minister Rehman Malik is also a citizen of the United Kingdom.”

He pleaded that the ECP be directed to initiate action against parliamentarians holding dual nationalities. ECP Joint Secretary Sher Afgan revealed that parliamentarians were reluctant to disclose their names due to fear of disqualification.

He sought more time from the court to prepare a reply in this regard.

“How will parliamentarians disclose their dual nationalities when they are aware that dual nationals are banned to contest elections in Pakistan?” questioned Afgan.

He told the bench that parliamentarians did not mention their dual nationalities in their oaths submitted to the ECP.  Upon this, the court directed the ECP to submit a detailed report on all dual-nationality holding lawmakers.

“Chief Election Commissioner Hamid Ali Mirza is also in Karachi, therefore more time should be given to submit a comprehensive reply on the issue,” Afgan requested the court. Accepting his plea, the court adjourned the hearing till March 29.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2012.

 

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