ISLAMABAD: As the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) enforces laws against dual nationality holders – barring them from contesting elections – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday pledged to challenge the decision.
But a top legal mind of his party says, “There are no legal grounds for him to challenge the ECP’s decision.”
The ECP in light of article 63-1(c) of the Constitution declared: a person is disqualified from being a member of parliament if he/she ceases to be a citizen of Pakistan or acquired citizenship of any other country.
“We will request the ECP to review its decision,” Imran Khan said at a press conference. “Our legal team is working on it.
“Overseas Pakistanis are the backbone of our economy and are contributing billions of dollars annually in the form of remittances.
“They should be treated equally,” Khan said, pledging to fight for the rights of expatriate Pakistanis.
Meanwhile, PTI Legal Wing chief Hamid Khan said that he will brief Khan on the issue soon. He was of the view that challenging this decision in the ECP or any other court will prove to be very complicated. However, he refused to elaborate.
“The government is working on a summary, seeking changes in the laws to make mandatory for the candidates that they do not have foreign nationality,” Law Minister Maula Bakhsh Chandio informed the National Assembly.
“It [summary] will be finalised before the Senate elections being held in March next year,” he added.
Senior Supreme Court lawyer Syed Zafar Ali Shah said that it was a constitutional requirement that dual nationality holders not be members of parliament.
“If somebody wants to change it then he/she will have to go for the amendments in the Constitution. Parliament is the only way to amend such laws with a two-thirds majority,” he told The Express Tribune.
More PTI incoming
Responding to a question, the PTI chairman welcomed the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) verdict pertaining to his rally in Karachi on December 25.
The SHC on Wednesday rejected a petition against PTI’s rally at the Quaid’s mausoleum, saying that the permission could only be granted by the mausoleum’s administration itself.
“We respect the SHC’s order about the Karachi rally,” Khan said.
Meanwhile, former law minister Iftikhar Gilani of the Pakistan Peoples Party, former narcotics minister Khawaja Muhammad Khan Hoti of the Awami National Party and former provincial minister from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Iftikhar Khattak formally announced to work with the PTI.
Saad Butter, son of Justice (retd) Javed Butter and an elder son of Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan of Tehreek-i-Istaqlal, also announced to join Khan’s burgeoning party.
Malik Mehboob Khar, an influential figure from Muzaffargarh also joined the party. To a question, MNA Azam Hoti said that he had sent his resignation to National Assembly Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi through an email earlier this month.
“If anyone has objections, I will personally visit his/her office for submission of my resignation,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 22nd, 2011.