ISLAMABAD: While the Supreme Court of Pakistan seeks proper arrangements for overseas Pakistanis to vote in general elections, it made it clear on Thursday that it would not allow dual nationals to be a part of the assemblies citing constitutional restraints.
However, the parliamentarians with dual nationality defended their loyalties towards Pakistan before a three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
The chief justice stated that if dual nationals are allowed to enter assemblies, then ‘imported’ prime ministers will come to power and rule us.
Senator Wasim Sajjad, the counsel for MNA Farah Naz Ispahani (who holds citizenship of both Pakistan and the US) told the bench that it was unrealistic to question someone’s loyalty on the basis of the nationalities they held and to suspend their assembly membership.
The court has suspended memberships of Ispahani and then Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik for holding nationalities, in addition to Pakistan, that of the US and UK respectively. Besides three other members, Senator Rehman Malik has also been contesting his membership suspension before the court.
MPA Amina Buttar told the court that despite being a US citizen, she is still loyal to Pakistan.
Justice Chaudhry remarked that the court would not allow a foreign citizen to have direct access to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and other state secrets.
To this, Sajjad responded by questioning why such rule does not apply to positions like that of Auditor General of Pakistan and high court judges or chief justices.
Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, a member of the bench, replied that high court judges never sat in the defence committee meetings nor have any direct access to Kahuta nuclear facility. Sajjad said that the high court judges are authorised to suspend a prime minister and can also seek records and details of sensitive meetings of the defence and parliamentary committees.
The court adjourned the case for May 25, when Anwar Mansoor Khan – the counsel for Malik – will complete his arguments.
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