The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq to corroborate whether certain members of parliament (MPs) held dual nationalities, and if so then what would be their constitutional status.
Petitioner Mahmood Akhtar Naqvi alleged before the court during the hearing on the subject that Chaudhry Zahid Iqbal, Chaudhry Iftikhar Nazir and Interior Minister Rehman Malik held British nationalities, while Farahnaz Ispahani, the spouse of former Pakistan ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani, possessed US nationality.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry heard the petition. The petitioner pleaded that such parliamentarians be disqualified. The court directed the MPs named to appear before it at the next hearing.
The chief justice asked Naqvi to disclose the names of the MPs holding dual nationalities. “If you have concrete proof then share it with the court,” he said. The petitioner told the court that at the moment, he did not have such evidence. However, he apparently had the transcript of Samaa TV’s report in which the reporter claimed that the parliamentarians mentioned held dual citizenship.
The chief justice inquired from the attorney general what the constitution said on the issue of dual nationality. Haq replied that according to Article 63(A) clause (c), a parliamentarian would be automatically disqualified when he ceased to be a citizen of Pakistan, or acquired the citizenship of a foreign state. He told the court that the MPs who filed their nomination papers for the elections took an oath of not having a dual nationality. “According to their oath no one is holding a dual nationality,” he added.
The petitioner mentioned that former secretary of the Election Commission Kanwar Dilshad had also admitted that there were 35 parliamentarians who had acquired dual nationalities. He requested the court to direct the commission to submit a complete record of the MPs.
Joint Secretary Sher Afgan of the Election Commission told the court that the candidates did not reveal their dual nationalities, as the commission had banned such candidates from contesting the elections.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2012.