Dual nationality case: SC strips Rehman Malik of Senate membership

Published: June 5, 2012

Court unconvinced that he renounced British citizenship in 2008. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Long regarded as the president’s chief troubleshooter, Interior Minister Rehman Malik was unable to save his Senate membership from being suspended by a no-nonsense Supreme Court on Monday.

On no less than the tenth hearing on the matter, Malik was unable to convince the apex court that he had renounced his British citizenship in 2008, ie, before he was elected a Senator. The suspension effectively removed Malik from the post of interior minister. However, the government is said to have decided to appoint Malik adviser to the prime minister on interior affairs. The notification to this effect will be issued shortly, according to these reports.

Previously, Malik had remained an adviser for an extended period of time, up until he was elected to the Senate in 2009 – after which he was administered the oath of a minister. As an adviser, he effectively has the same status, except for membership to the Parliament.

The suspension took place after the apex court found a number of factual inaccuracies in the documents provided by him to prove renunciation of his dual citizenship.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprising Justice Jawwad S Khwaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, discovered that Malik only recently gave up his citizenship, contrary to his claim that he renounced his British nationality in 2008.

Attorney General Irfan Qadir opposed the court’s decision, saying that it did not have the power to disqualify any parliamentarian. Qadir also told the court that he disagreed with its decision to suspend the membership of MNA Farahnaz Ispahani.

The court, however, would have none of it. While it incorporated the attorney general’s objections in its written order, it termed them “unnecessary” at this stage of proceedings. Things got more heated when the chief justice told Qadir that he should have supported the court on the matter, considering he’s the chief law officer of the Supreme Court. Qadir replied: “No, I will be on the right side with the law and Constitution instead.”

When the court resumed the hearing, Malik’s counsel was absent. The court was informed that the minister has replaced his counsel Chaudhry Azhar with Anwar Mansoor Khan, who was previously on leave. The court rejected the move and summoned Azhar, warning him that abandoning proceedings would be tantamount to misconduct.

After Azhar returned, he remained unable to satisfy the court that Malik gave up his citizenship in 2008. This, the court observed, meant that, when Malik submitted his nomination papers for Senate elections, he conceal the fact that he had foreign citizenship – a violation of article 63 (1-C) of the Constitution.

At this point, attorney general Qadir stood up and asked the court to show restraint instead of passing any order against Malik in isolation, adding that all such parliamentarians’ cases should be decided together.

Justice Khawaja reminded the attorney general that this was the tenth hearing of Malik’s case, and yet the minister had not submitted the document that was actually required by the court.

The court also found that Malik’s submitted affidavit stating that he gave up his nationality in 2008 was incorrect, and his newly submitted documents, including two letters dated 29 May and June 1, revealed that he gave up his citizenship recently. The court also read out a letter written by a UK Border and Immigration Agency official that confirmed Malik was informed via a letter on May 29 that he is no longer a citizen of the UK.

The court also pointed out that the letter also mentioned an enclosed declaration but Malik’s counsel did not produce the declaration, saying that he had not been able to get his hands on it. Azhar also insisted that Malik initiated the renouncement process in 2008.

On the other hand, independent legal analysts have observed that the amount mentioned on fee receipt submitted by Malik does not correspond with the renunciation fee charged by the UK administration in 2008 – and instead corresponds with the most recent fee structure.

 

Published In The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Polpot
    Jun 5, 2012 - 9:18AM

    “Attorney General Irfan Qadir opposed the court’s decision, saying that it did not have the power to disqualify any parliamentarian.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    That presupposes that the appointment of the parliamentarian was legally valid!

    Recommend

  • truthseeker
    Jun 5, 2012 - 9:40AM

    What is with Pakistani lawyers, they seem to think that they decide what the constitution is not the Supreme Court. Did this AG get his degree in a cracker jack bocRecommend

  • Hamid Ahmed
    Jun 5, 2012 - 10:31AM

    Salute to Attorney General Irfan Qadir:
    The chief justice told Qadir that he should have supported the court on the matter, considering he’s the chief law officer of the Supreme Court. Qadir replied: “No, I will be on the right side with the law and Constitution instead.”

    “The court also read out a letter written by a UK Border and Immigration Agency official that confirmed Malik was informed via a letter on May 29 that he is no longer a citizen of the UK.”

    Peace please!

    Recommend

  • Discostu
    Jun 5, 2012 - 4:48PM

    I’m going to ignore all the legal jargon and the debate about whether this is the right thing to do. All I want to highlight is, that the man was trying to deceive the court. He essentially lied to the highest court in the land. That in its self should disqualify him. I have to admit, I am sitting here with a smirk at the misfortunes that have befallen these “lions” of the PPP.

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  • Khalid Imtiaz
    Jun 5, 2012 - 8:46PM

    The mere fact that he said in his statement he had relinquished his British nationality on March 25, 2008 but later submitting a forged affidavit saying he relinquished it on 25 April 2008, disqualifies him from holding a public office. But both his statement and affidavit proved to be false subsequently as they could not withstand suppreme court scrutiny.

    He should not only be tried for forgery and perjury but also be made to pay back the cost of all the perks he enjoyed at peoples expense as minister and earlier as adviser. all his property must be confiscated and his bank accounts frozen till full recovery of the tax payers money. He should be tried as an imposter which he actually is.

    The charges against him of money laundering must also be vigorously persued and he should be awarded exemplary punishment.

    Recommend

  • sunbal
    Jun 16, 2012 - 8:39PM

    Dual nationality brings more diversity and dynamics into the equation. Why a multiple passport citizen can never be more concerned towards his/her core/ first nationality. There are thousands of overseas Pakistanis dual nationals who love their beloved homeland as much as local residents here if not more. There is no harm being multiple citizen as long as you understand values of your core nationality. Farahnaz Ispahani is an educated woman. I rather have her as MNA than corrupt Sardars or Waderasor this is a misguided step and will cost in the long run.Recommend

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