FATA lawmaker denies having Afghan nationality

Petition filed in IHC challenged Senator Hidayat and his father MNA Bismillah Jan's seat in Parliament

Mureeb Mohmand April 28, 2017
The senator said the petitioner is trying to malign his family. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

SHABQADAR: FATA lawmaker, Senator Hidayatullah, has denied allegations levelled in a Islamabad High Court (IHC) petition that he is an Afghan national and not eligible to hold a parliament seat, terming the petition a means to defame his family by dragging their name in court.

Bajaur Agency resident Nisarul Haq had filed a petition in the IHC, on Wednesday, challenging MNA Bismillah Khan and his son Senator Hidayat’s eligibility to be parliamentary leaders, claiming they were Afghan nationals.

Through his lawyer, Sher Afzal Marwat, Haq said the senator and his father - relatives of former Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) governor Shaukatullah - have Afghan ID cards and have concealed their family’s Afghan nationality. Because of that they are ineligible to become members of the upper and lower houses of Parliament.

Haq has listed the federal interior secretary, foreign affairs secretary, chief election commissioner, SAFRON secretary and NADRA chief as respondents to explain how the father and son were issued Pakistani IDs.

The court on Thursday issued notices to the relevant officials and adjourned the case for an indefinite period.

Plea for disqualification: Two Fata lawmakers are Afghans, says petitioner

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Bayanul Haq, the petitioner’s brother, said they had documented proof that Shaukatullah’s family still has relatives in Salampur in Kunhar province of Afghanistan, and that they had submitted these in the court and will submit more proof if needed.

According to him, MNA Bismillah remained an Afghan citizen till 1972 while Shaukatullah remained an Afghan national till 2008 before he became MNA from Nawagai, Bajaur Agency.

However, in a statement issued to the media, Senator Hidayat denied these claims saying the petitioner Haq is himself an Afghan national and was challenging his family’s Pakistani nationality to malign them.

Hidayat said Haq had lost a case about his own Pakistani nationality at the Nawagai political agent’s office and a Peshawar court.

The senator appealed to the interior minister to act against Haq and his family under the Foreigners Act.

He added that his family has been permanently residing in Bajaur for centuries and its members have remained part of Pakistan’s civil and political institutions for a long time.

Local sources told The Express Tribune that Haq has had a land dispute with former governor Shaukatullah’s family for a long time and both sides have been challenging each other in court for a while.

In 2012, when Senator Hidayat’s brother, Shaukatullah, was appointed K-P governor, a man named Shahid Orakzai had challenged his appointment at the IHC saying a Fata resident cannot become governor under the Constitution.

However, that case was thrown out at the time because Shaukatullah had shown his residence as Peshawar at the time.


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