Two high court judges revealed as dual nationals

SC summons secretary establishment for failing to submit final report

Hasnaat Malik February 14, 2018
SC summons secretary establishment for failing to submit final report. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has summoned the establishment secretary today (Wednesday) for failing to submit the list of officials holding dual nationality.

The three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar while hearing suo motu case, has also sought details over the issue from chief secretaries, in addition to the attorney general for Pakistan and advocates general.

During the hearing, the chief justice himself read out the apex court and high court registrars reports, wherein it is stated that no official of the Supreme Court is dual national.

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Likewise, no judge of the Peshawar High Court, Balochistan High Court, Islamabad High Court and Federal Shariat Court is dual national.

However, one Lahore High Court judge, Justice Jawwad Hassan, and one Sindh High Court judge, KK Agha, are holding dual nationality by birth.

Likewise, the report also shared details of lower judiciary judges who are holding dual nationality.

In Punjab, two judges – Ashfaq Ahmad Rana and Farkhanda Arshad – are holding dual nationality.

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Likewise, Rashda Asad in Sindh and Farukh Ataullah Khan in K-P are dual nationals. One lower judiciary judge in Islamabad, Samia Noreen, holds the nationality of a foreign country.

Meanwhile, the bench expressed concern over submission of the interim report by the establishment secretary.

Deputy Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti submitted the report wherein only few officials were identified as holding dual citizenship.

The court asked the official why the court’s order has not been implemented regarding submission of details within ten days. Later, the establishment secretary has been asked to appear in person today (Wednesday).

Lawmakers ask about dual national judges

At present the judges are not legally barred from holding dual nationalities; however, when the top court led by former Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry disqualified dozens of parliamentarians for holding dual nationalities, the members of parliament campaigned for a ban on judges for the same.

In March 2017, the government informed the National Assembly that despite repeated requests the apex court and high courts of Lahore and Sindh have not provided information regarding names of superior court judges having dual nationalities.

On March 6, 2017, while answering a similar question on the floor of the house, former law minister Zahid Hamid had expressed his ‘inability’ to get the required information from superior courts.

Evading laws: SC demands details of dual national legislators

On February 4, 2014 the Senate unanimously passed a resolution, asking the government to publish the names of those judges of the superior judiciary who held dual citizenship and the then Senate chairman Nayyar Bokhari gave two months’ time for its implementation. PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar moved the said resolution as well.

Later, seeing the situation, two PPP senators – Sughra Imam (retired in March 2015) and Raza Rabbani – moved a constitutional amendment bill – The Constitution (22nd Amendment) Act – in the Senate, seeking a ban on dual nationals to be judges in superior courts through an amendment to Article 177.

On February 19, 2015, the Senate Committee on Law and Justice had approved the draft of the bill. “The bill was approved by the committee but we did not bring it up in the house because PPP did not have the two-thirds majority required to pass it. So, it crossed the committee stage but did not reach the plenary stage,” Babar had informed The Express Tribune.

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PHC additional judges appointed

The Judicial Commission of Pakistan confirmed the services of three Peshawar High Court additional judges on Tuesday.

A meeting of the commission under the chairmanship of Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar was held on Wednesday.

During the meeting, the commission confirmed names of Justice Abdul Shakoor, Justice Ijaz Anwar and Justice Muhammad Attique Shah