ISLAMABAD: In one fell swoop, the apex court ordered the disqualification of at least 11 lawmakers on Thursday, on account of holding dual nationality.
Lawmakers would not only vacate their seats, but also face legal proceedings, and have to reimburse all monetary benefits drawn by them during the period they held public office.
The court also directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to get fresh declarations from every lawmaker that they do not hold any nationality other than Pakistan’s, and do not violate Article 63(1)(c) of the Constitution.
ECP de-notifies lawmakers
Immediately after the verdict, the ECP issued notifications for the disqualification of 11 lawmakers including National Assembly members Zahid Iqbal‚ Farahnaz Ispahani‚ Farhat Mehmood Khan‚ and Jamil Ahmad Malik, and provincial assembly members Muhammad Akhlaq, Muhammad Ashraf Chohan‚ Nadia Gabol‚ Chaudhry Wasim Qadir, Chaudhry Nadeem Khadim‚ Amna Buttar and Dr Ahmad Ali Shah.
The commission was also directed to initiate legal proceedings against the disqualified parliamentarians. The Supreme Court in its verdict on Thursday said under Article 63(1)(c)‚ no parliamentarian can hold dual nationalities.
The bench directed the ECP to revoke the memberships of the disqualified lawmakers, saying they made false declarations before the commission while filing their nomination papers. It also directed the recovery of all monetary benefits drawn by the disqualified lawmakers during their tenure within two weeks.
Malik not ‘honest’
For Interior Minister Rehman Malik, the court had a separate order.
Malik has been castigated for submitting a false declaration in court, claiming that he renounced his British citizenship in 2008 but documents he provided in court show that he did so in 2012.
“Mr A Rehman Malik, in view of the false declaration filed by him at the time of contesting the election to the Senate in 2008, cannot be considered sagacious, righteous, honest and ameen within the contemplation of section 99(1)(f) of the Act of 1976,” the order stated. Malik would be facing two separate references, one before the Senate chairman, and the other in the ECP. Malik has also been directed to refund all monetary benefits drawn by him for the period during which he occupied public office.
Given the specific nature of Malik’s case, the court will decide his fate in the first week of October.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2012.
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