ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has set aside the rejection of the National Assembly and Senate and warned all lawmakers on Tuesday to submit declarations stating they do not hold dual nationality – else it will be assumed that they possess citizenship of more than one country.
Lawmakers have been given a month to comply.
The decision was taken by the ECP in a meeting headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim. The meeting was held in light of a recent refusal by the Senate and the National Assembly to obtain such affidavits from their members.
In this regard, letters have been sent to lawmakers making it clear that they have to comply with the direction within the stipulated period.
Under Article 63 (1) (c) of the Constitution, a person is not eligible to become a member of parliament or a provincial assembly if he or she possesses any foreign nationality. The constitutional provision was not adhered to till recently, when the Supreme Court disqualified 11 lawmakers from different political parties adjudged to be dual nationals on September 20.
While briefing the media about the decision, Election Commission Secretary Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan said members of parliament can submit their declarations at the ECP headquarters, whereas members of provincial assemblies were required to file declarations with their provincial election commissioners.
The commission will write letters to 1,174 parliamentarians who need to file fresh declarations about their nationality, he added.
“We have given them sufficient time. Political parties had expressed confidence in the ECP and we want to maintain this confidence,” he remarked.
The secretary said the court had asked the commission to decide the matter and it was bound to implement the order of the court. He also said that the secretariats of all the legislative houses were directed to recover salaries paid to the now-disqualified lawmakers and that the ECP had nothing to do with it.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2012.
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