ISLAMABAD - Retaining the order to suspend the membership of Senator Rehman Malik and MNA Farahnaz Isphani, the Supreme Court on Wednesday suspended the membership of three more lawmakers belonging to provincial assemblies of Punjab and Sindh.
A three-member bench headed by chief justice and comprising Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain was hearing a petition seeking disqualification of lawmakers holding dual nationality.
Attorney General Irfan Qadir handed to Chief Justice Iftikhar Ch a letter from senate chairman requesting for giving special treatment to the case of Rehman Malik. The court turning down the request maintained that all parliamentarians who hold dual citizenship would be treated equally.
Lawyer Chaudhry Azhar failed to submit proof of his client Rehman Malik’s renunciation of UK citizenship. Justice Jawwad wondered that the counsel could not submit the RN form despite the repeated requests in the last five hearings. Wasim Sajjad, counsel for Farahnaz, did not appear while AOR prayed for the adjournment.
Punjab MPAs Muhammad Ikhlaq and Amna Butter and Dr Ahmed Ali, MPA from Sindh, admitted that they were enjoying dual nationality of America and Britain respectively. The court noted: “Prima facie we are satisfied that they are not qualified to hold the membership of the provincial assemblies. Therefore, their status as the member Sindh and Punjab assemblies are suspended.” The office was directed to intimate Election Commission of Pakistan and the secretaries of Punjab and Sindh assemblies accordingly. The court found no convincing material against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz central leader Khawaja Asif, Federal Minister for Finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, PML-N MNA Anousha Rehman, MNA Chaudhry Iftikhar Nazir and Senate Deputy Chairman Sabir Ali Baloch.
They all took serious exception to the allegations levelled by Waheed Anjum advocate in his application. Waheed Anjum, a lawyer, pleading as a party in the case, submitted a list of 14 other parliamentarians who hold dual nationality. They said that mentioning their names with those 12 parliamentarians have caused serious damage to their reputation. Waheed Anjum tendered an apology which they accepted.
Justice Khilji said that out of 450 members of the NA and the senate why had he selected the names of these parliamentarians? Justice Jawwad asked him to disclose the name of the person who had fed him these names. But the counsel kept quite.
Punjab MPA Tariq Mehmood Alloana dismissed the allegation that he holds nationality of the US. He informed the court that he had never acquired American citizenship. He said that except for travelling to Saudi Arabia and that too for pilgrimage he has not visited any country. He however said that one of his brothers named Khalid Mehmood is an American citizen. Waheed Anjum said that he would contest his claim. The court observed that prima facie Mr Aloana has not acquired citizenship of any country other than Pakistan. MPAs of PML-N, Ch Waseem Qadir, Ch Nadeem Khadim and Dr Muhammad Ashraf Chouhan, neither appeared in persons nor anyone represented them; therefore they were again issued notices.
There is serious controversy in Zahid Iqbal’s case because the petitioner has forcefully claimed that he has acquired UK nationality and also hold Pakistani passport. But the counsel for him stated that he needed sometime to file parawise comments. The court directed Iqbal’s counsel to deposit his client’s passport at the Registrar Office. The case was adjourned till June 21.