Punjab Finance Minister Rana Asif, who was sworn in as the second minority minister in May, has been asked by his party, the PML-N, to resign from his ministerial slot as well from his Punjab Assembly seat for possessing dual nationality, sources told The Express Tribune.
However, when asked about the news by the media, Asif denied, saying that if his party leadership demands, he is “ready to sacrifice his life”.
The opposition in the Punjab Assembly (PA) on Tuesday had vociferously demanded Asif’s resignation for holding dual nationality. Pakistan Muslim League–Quaid’s MPA Samina Khawar Hayat had distributed excerpts of the Lahore High Court (LHC) ruling among lawmakers and demanded that the speaker bar Asif from presenting the provincial budget.
According to the LHC ruling, Asif had confessed that he is a Christian and a dual national since he also holds a Canadian nationality. LHC Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, who heard Asif’s case, had stated in his ruling that the case of dual nationality is in the Supreme Court, and then disposed it of.
The opposition’s ruckus during Tuesday’s PA session had not only put the treasury benches on the back foot but also forced Law Minister Rana Sanaullah to leave the house and consult Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in this regard.
According to sources, Sanaullah on Wednesday presided over a meeting in which the law regarding dual nationality and recent rulings of the apex court were discussed in detail.
Senator Kamran Michael, who presented the Punjab budget last year, was the first Christian finance minister in the Punjab cabinet to have done so. The first three budgets were presented by Pakistan Peoples Party’s finance minister Tanvir Ashraf Kaira.
According to the rules of business, the chief minister can appoint anyone to make budget speech for fiscal year 2012-13.
Sources add that the PML-N is considering three candidates to present the provincial budget, including provincial Education Minister Mian Mujtaba Shujaul Rehman and Parliamentary Secretary on Law and Parliamentary Affairs Khalil Tahir Sindhu. The latter is a Christian MPA from Faisalabad.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2012.
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