Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Affairs Rehman Malik was unofficially re-elected as a senator from Sindh on Friday, soon after he submitted his nomination papers at the office of provincial election commission.
Although the election commission is yet to make a formal announcement, officials have declared Malik a successful candidate since no one else from any other political party in the Sindh Assembly filed papers against him.
Earlier, Malik, along with Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, and Pakistan Peoples Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement provincial ministers, arrived at the office of the provincial election commissioner and submitted his nomination papers for the Senate on a technocrat seat.
The former interior minister had tendered his resignation following suspension of his Senate membership by the Supreme Court for holding a dual nationality.
While submitting his nomination papers, Malik also handed over an affidavit certificate renouncing his British nationality to Provincial Election Commissioner Sono Khan Baloch.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Baloch said that no other candidate had submitted nomination forms for Malik’s vacant seat in the Senate.
“This will pave the way for Malik to become a Senator. But we have to follow the legal procedure before issuing an official notification on July 24 declaring him an unopposed Senator,” he said.
Malik had the support of all coalition partners of the government, including the MQM, the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional, the PML-Quaid and the NPP, for his re-election in the Senate.
The PML-Q (likeminded) – the only opposition party in the Sindh Assembly led by former chief minister Sindh Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim – did not nominate any candidate for the Senate seat. “Rehman Malik had contacted Dr Rahim, which is why we preferred not to contest the election,” deputy parliamentary leader of the party Razzaque Rahimoon said.
I resigned because of Nawaz’s statement: Malik
Meanwhile, Malik said on Friday that he had resigned because of the accusations levelled against him by PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif.
“Mian Sahib was of the view that the amendment to the Constitution regarding dual nationality had only been planned to benefit me. This was the main reason of my resignation from the Senate seat,” he said, while addressing the media after submitting his nomination forms.
Holding out his national identity card, the former interior minister said he has now proved that he is only a Pakistani citizen.
“I feel the issue of dual nationality was raised for me, so I resigned. If anyone has reservations, he or she can challenge my nomination forms for the Senate,” he added.
Malik said that many Pakistanis living abroad will become victims of the restriction on dual nationality holders. “Pakistanis living abroad are playing an important role in supporting the economy by sending huge amount of remittances. They must have the right to contest elections and become members of parliament.”
Malik urged political parties in parliament to support the dual nationality bill. “All political parties have expressed that the prime minister, the president, the finance minister and other ministers who hold important portfolios should not have dual nationality,” he said.
Malik advised Nawaz Sharif to support the dual nationality bill since many parliamentarians from his party are also dual nationals.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2012.